Plovers make an early return to Cape Cod beaches
ORLEANS, Mass. (AP) -- Protected piping plovers have made an early return to Cape Cod's beaches this year.
Experts say a combination of a warm winter and early spring has brought piping plovers flocking from their southern wintering grounds three weeks ahead of their usual arrival.
Paul Fulcher, the Orleans parks and beaches superintendent, says it's too early to say whether that means a productive nesting year for the endangered birds or an early reprieve from beach closures for off-road beach enthusiasts.
He tells the Cape Cod Times other factors, including predators and weather, play a part.
Some have already launched into courtship displays, scratching out and defending possible nesting sites.
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