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Piping plover chicks are hatching at Hampton, Seabrook beaches, people asked to be careful


CONCORD, New Hampshire — New Hampshire Fish and Game biologists say four piping plover nests have hatched in Hampton and Seabrook within the past two weeks and another two are expected to hatch over the Fourth of July weekend, so they're asking people to be aware of the endangered birds.

The birds' breeding habitat is fenced with yellow roping to indicate their presence to beachgoers and to allow mating pairs space to nest and raise their young.

Biologists say within just a few hours of hatching, piping plover chicks are able to walk and feed on their own. They also are vulnerable to predators such as gulls, crows, foxes, cats and dogs.

Since protection efforts began in 1997 through 2014, 89 nesting pairs of plovers have fledged 115 chicks on New Hampshire's seacoast.

"Our goal is to protect these rare birds during their breeding season and manage the beaches for both people and wildlife," said Brendan Clifford, a biologist who oversees the piping plover protection effort. "Hatching is later than normal this year, which may make it difficult for the birds as beaches become more crowded."

He said once the chicks are 25-30 days old, they can fly and escape from danger, and the fences can be taken down.

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