The Lost Bird Project | Film

Snowy Plover

Extending down the Pacific coast of North America and South America, the Pacific Flyway offers millions of migrating birds a diverse range of habitat from Arctic tundra to tropical jungle.

Many species that use the flyway are in trouble as habitat loss, water shortages, changing food sources and changes to the climate adversely impact the historic migration corridor.

Some species, such as the Snowy Plover, are in serious trouble and need our help.

Audubon Priority Species

Snowy Plover

The Snowy Plover is a small, sparrow-sized shorebird that inhabits sandy beaches and marshlands. It forages in loose flocks feeding on small invertebrates such as worms, mollusks and insects.

Snowy Plovers nest on the beach just above high tide lines, where human interference is the greatest. Human activities, such as walking, jogging, running pets, horseback riding and vehicle use, destroy suitable nesting habitat, force parents to abandon nests, and crush eggs and chicks.  Non-native European beachgrass and urban development also contribute to habitat destruction and threaten the survival of the species. 

The US Fish and Wildlife Service listed the species as threatened in 1993 due to low population and decreased habitat. 

The Pacific coastal population’s breeding range extends from southern Washington to southern Baja California, with the majority of birds breeding along the California coast.  It is estimated that less than 2,000 snowy plovers survive along the coast. 

The number of Snowy Plovers on our beaches that reside, nest and fledge their young is an indicator of the health of our sandy beaches and coastal ecosystem.

To learn more about the species and how to help save this bird, please visit the links below.

National Audubon Society's Snowy Plover species page

Point Reyes Bird Observatory - Snowy Plover Conservation work

Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds page

US Fish and Wildlife Service - Snowy Plover species information

Western Snowy Plover - A central forum about the species