- Associated Press - Saturday, August 29, 2015

HAMPTON, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire has seen a big increase in the number of piping plovers on state beaches this summer.

Last year, six pairs of the endangered birds were spotted on beaches, with only two chicks surviving at least 25 days. This summer, there were three pairs nested on Hampton Beach with five chicks and five pairs of plovers on Seabrook Beach with seven chicks.

New Hampshire Fish and Game biologists fenced off nesting areas when the plovers returned to the beaches in May and put up signs alerting people to watch out for the newborn chicks, which are about the size of cotton balls and are nearly the color of sand. Throughout the summer, volunteers asked beachgoers to be careful if they were playing Frisbee or throwing footballs near the chicks.

“This summer we had small chicks on the beach during early August, when beaches were packed with people,” said Stacy Peterson, Fish and Game’s piping plover monitor. “Plover chicks were running under beach chairs and people were thrilled to see them.”

The birds are considered endangered in New Hampshire and threatened nationally.

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