One year ago, the Superstorm Sandy moved tons of sand inland and upward - as storms have done for millennia - causing much suffering to New Jerseyâ€™s coastal communities. But not so for the piping plover, a native beachfront bird!
It turns out that Sandy was both useful and essential to the future survival of piping plovers, Charadrius melodius. These endangered, sparrow-size birds have declined tremendously due to human encroachment over the last century. They cannot tolerate our propensity for recreating at the high tide line!
Today, piping plovers breed in small numbers on a few remaining strips of unspoiled, oceanfront beaches and dunes - places not overrun with blankets, sunbathers, fishermen and dune buggies. Four of New Jerseyâ€™s best plover nesting grounds include Gateway National Recreation Area in Sandy Hook, Holgate and Little Beach areas of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, and North Brigantine Natural Area.