To the editor:
Over the past four years I have grown increasingly concerned about possible unintended consequences arising from the epic attempts to protect a pair or two of plovers that make their way to Good Harbor Beach each spring.
Through their enthusiastic “publicists,” these vulnerable birds’ fame has literally reached the other side of the world now through blogs, books, articles, documentaries and so forth. (A search of the word “plovers” in the Gloucester Daily Times online edition alone brings up 179 references.)
In my lifetime I have had the good fortune to know dozens of naturalists. I do not believe any of them would point out any threatened or endangered species with such specificity. I personally do not have enough trust in human nature to think that no one would ever wish to do these birds harm. (Case in point, the seaweed and dung spread around the Good Harbor Beach parking lot and draped over the plover warning signs.)
Only one chick has survived long enough to fly away in the past four years.
Perhaps it is worth considering the possibility that in trying so hard to create a welcoming “safe space” for the plovers in an environment that becomes extremely inhospitable only a month or two later, that this could be luring them to their ultimate demise.