By Joe Eaton

The South Bay’s salt pannes, bleak unvegetated flats left behind by commercial salt works, seem inhospitable to life. To western snowy plovers, though, they look like home. Still, the plovers are in trouble themselves. Considered a California species of special concern, the Bay-wide snowy plover breeding population sits at about 250. As Karine Tokatlian explained in her State of the Estuary Conference presentation in October 2017, efforts to boost their breeding success in the remaining salt pannes have encountered unexpected challenges. Predator management resources for the Eden Landing plover colony are limited, according to Tokatlian. Fencing nests work better against mammals, but the plover’s primary predator is the common raven. Relocated predators find their way back. Research on these birds’ basic habitat needs and nesting density limits is ongoing.

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Smart Plover Predators

By Joe Eaton

The South Bay’s salt pannes, bleak unvegetated flats left behind by commercial salt works, seem inhospitable to life. To western snowy plovers, though, they look like home. Still, the plovers are in trouble themselves. Considered a California species of special concern, the Bay-wide snowy plover breeding population sits at about 250. As Karine Tokatlian explained in her State of the Estuary Conference presentation in October 2017, efforts to boost their breeding success in the remaining salt pannes have encountered unexpected challenges. Predator management resources for the Eden Landing plover colony are limited, according to Tokatlian. Fencing nests work better against mammals, but the plover’s primary predator is the common raven. Relocated predators find their way back. Research on these birds’ basic habitat needs and nesting density limits is ongoing.

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About the author

Joe Eaton writes about endangered and invasive species, climate and ecosystem science, environmental history, and water issues for ESTUARY. He is also "a semi-obsessive birder" whose pursuit of rarities has taken him to many of California's shores, wetlands, and sewage plants.

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