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May 21, 1997
Contact: Margaret Ainscough, (360) 902-2408

Precautions asked for snowy plover

There's a special couple residing at Damon Point in Ocean Shores and they need the help of visitors.

The two are the only pair of snowy plovers in the species' northern-most North American nesting area. The bird is listed as a state endangered species and a federal threatened species.

Unfortunately the birds, which nest in the open, share the beach with human visitors and dogs which could disturb or destroy their nest.

"It's a serious problem because people let their dogs bound out of cars off the leash or they let their dogs off the leash to run on the beach and a lot of dog breeds are bird hunters," said Jack Smith, Region 6 wildlife program manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Smith asks Damon Point visitors to obey posted "no entry" signs around the nesting area and keep their dogs on a leash. The birds do not appear to be upset by long-range viewing, Smith said, although they can be difficult to see because they blend with their surroundings.

The snowy plover, a 4-to-5 inch, whitish shorebird, typically nests on several eggs which hatch in June into young about twice the size of a bumblebee. Most years, several nesting pairs are present at the Damon Point site, but so far this year only one pair has shown up.