Volunteers are needed to help monitor Piping Plovers and other shorebirds from early April until late August at beaches across Connecticut.

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Wildlife Division and the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds will hold a training and orientation session for new volunteers from 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 31 at Audubon Connecticut at Stratford Point, 1207 Prospect Drive, Stratford.

Past volunteers will be offered a refresher from 9 to 10:15am.

The sessions will review the following: biology of the piping plover, how to monitor breeding pairs and chicks, volunteer organization and logistics, and law enforcement information. While there are only a few changes to the process this year, attendance by everyone planning to join us for the 2018 season is important.

Atlantic Coast populations of Piping Plovers return to the Connecticut coast in March from their wintering grounds on the Gulf Coast and Caribbean.

“The cryptic nests of the piping plover are extremely susceptible to human disturbance, predation, and tidal wash outs,” according to Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds Connecticut .

“To enhance the survival and productivity of birds breeding in Connecticut, volunteers work at locations across the shoreline to observe the shorebirds, record and report nesting data, and educate the beach-going public about the monitoring program. Volunteers work four-hour shifts from April until the end of the breeding season (usually in August) and must donate a minimum of four hours per month. The work can be very rewarding, as volunteers will have the opportunity to positively affect the nesting success of threatened shorebirds across the state.”

For more information on the training session or for directions, please email the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds at ctwaterbirds@gmail.com. Reservations are not required; but an e-mail letting us know you will be attending is appreciated.