Paddlers Monitor Plovers

By Ashleigh Papp

“It sounds fun and glamorous to kayak to work, but it’s not always the case,” says Ben Pearl, plover program director for the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory. Pearl spends six months of the year in the field researching predator threats, habitat status, and breeding behavior of the local snowy plover population. “All of this habitat used to be tidal marsh and was converted to salt ponds, so the ground is sometimes soft and nearly impossible to walk through,” says Pearl. “At some breeding sites, a kayak is almost always required to reach the nests.” Protecting these areas for plovers and other species requires ongoing work, but the habitat improvements are worth the effort, even if the work does involve the occasional unplanned dip.

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