A small gray bird crouches in the sand at Barnegat Lighthouse State Park. Except for its bright orange beak, the American oystercatcher is difficult to spot among the sand and shells. It’s nesting season for many endangered or threatened species of birds at the Jersey Shore, including the oystercatcher, black skimmers, least terns, and the hard-to-spot piping plover…In recent years, only 100 to 120 pairs of piping plovers have nested in the entire state, according to Brooke Maslo, a professor and researcher at Rutgers University. Historically, Barnegat Lighthouse State Park has typically hosted just one pair. In the wake of Sandy, two – maybe three – pairs of piping plovers have taken up residence in the park, thanks to changes brought by the storm.
/ / / After Sandy, balancing the needs of nesting birds and people [AUDIO]