This tiny plover is the color of pale sand – the perfect camouflage for its preferred habit of open beaches, alkali and salt flats, and river sandbars.
Although the Snowy Plover has a large population and wide range, its numbers appear to be decreasing. Major threats include habitat degradation/loss and increased recreational use of beaches, where human activity can destroy the birds’ nests and eggs. Free-roaming cats also pose a threat.
Sea level rise due to climate change will cause additional loss of habitat for the Snowy Plover and other beach-nesting birds. Increased storm surges may also threaten nests.
As a result of continuing declines and ongoing threats, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently issued a proposal to more than double the bird's designated Critical Habitat. See the full story here.