Crow battle copyright Kim SmithDear Friends,

A reminder that no dogs are allowed on Good Harbor Beach during the summer and particularly while the Piping Plovers are nesting. It truly is a matter of life and death for these rare and endangered tender shorebirds. The past several mornings there have been dogs on GHB, off leash. Although the Plovers nest is at the edge of the dune, once they have hatched, the tiny nestlings will soon be going to the water’s edge to feed. They will most assuredly be squished by an exuberant pooch if owners do not keep their dogs off the beach. Please let your house guests, friends, neighbors, and family know about these rare creatures calling Good Harbor Beach home for the summer, and why it is so vitally important to keep dogs off the beach.

Yes, I took photos of the scofflaws, but do not want to post another batch. I’d rather we spend the time helping people understand why, and trying to prevent further incidences.

Piping Plover with garbage plastic bottle pollution copyright Kim SmithOf far greater concern is the fact that last night some persons were picnicking in the Plover’s cordoned off area. The thoughtless ones buried their trash in the sand, but left some remaining on top. At daybreak several crows, I am sure drawn by the brightly colored Doritos bag, began digging in the sand. They were soon joined by a dozen or so crow family members, where a great noisy battle ensued over the bones and garbage. The combat took place in the Plover’s plot, causing the nesting Plover extreme distress. She left the nest, trying all her tricks to distract the crows from the eggs, and was really quite brave in fending them off, all the while calling frantically to her mate. The battle lines were coming closer and closer to the Plover nest.

Why was she so alarmed? Because crows (and gulls) eat Piping Plover eggs!

As a filmmaker I try very hard not to intervene in wildlife behaviors while filming, I stand as still as a stone and the creatures soon forget about me and go about their normal business. However, in this case, the garbage strewn about in the Plover’s plot was human created and needed human intervention. I chased the crows out of the area and within a few moments, the Plovers had resumed their morning routine.Crow battle -2copyright Kim Smith

Some folks are under the misguided notion that it is a good thing to bury trash, even burying glass bottles. Tony and Murray, our awesome GHB DPW crew, told me that burying bottles is the worst thing people do because as the clean up tractor unwittingly is driven over the hidden garbage, bottles break, and then there is broken glass everywhere. Burying food and bones and plastic is nearly as bad. The seagulls and crows inevitably find the trash, drag it all across the beach, and then the plastic ends up in the ocean. If there weren’t so much nightly trash left on the beach, we wouldn’t have nearly as many crows, and the shorebirds would be far safer.

Please, no dogs and no trash on our beautiful beach. Thank you. The Piping Plovers thank you too.Crow feeding copyright Kim Smith


    1. Thanks so much Kim B, we’ll just keep trying and hopefully if we can work together as a community to let people know what the story is, the Plovers will hatch and fledge successfully 🙂


  1. I have so enjoyed your beautiful and poetic photos of these shorebirds, Kim. Your educational posts have delighted me and helped me to see how important it is to protect their habitat. Could it be time to formally initiate the Piping Plover Police?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your note Rebecca. Yes I think maybe it its. Beginning this weekend, I get a little break from intense work schedule and have been thinking about organizing something like this, and now we have a terrific name, the Piping Plover Police, or maybe Piping Plover Patrol 🙂


  2. Foundation bring it in take it out crows/ravens give you a clue as to location – and many times it’s not the locals I have found this way also! Sad Dave I’ll be honest here if I through stuff like this as a young adult I would be called out on the spot and have to deal with them and mom when got home not the place I want to be! Such a beautiful place “cherish it nature.” 😦 & Kim

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I know a lot of department stores used to use a bailer that compresses the cardboard boxes into a bundle for recycle. Even up at Walker Hancock’s blue hole he kept a large trash can for trash as yes even in the 60’s some folks threw trash!

        Solar may be the way to go also! 🙂


  3. HI Kim,
    I appreciate your work to educate folks about the beach and the plovers. You convey the facts without making moral judgments. Why people would leave trash on a beautiful beach is beyond me, but perhaps through your tireless efforts, some people will finally understand their responsibility. Thank you.


    1. Thank you Peggy for your good words. There are so many working to keep our community clean–Clean Gloucester, One Hour at at a Time Gang, Patti Amaral, and all our conscientious citizens. I wish they didn’t have to work so hard!


  4. When you see these dog owners, why don’t you call the ACOs? Or you can take down their plate numbers, but you must be willing to use your name in your complaint. They are giving all the rest of us a bad name. The great majority of us respect and love the beaches, and when we are legally on them, many of us pick up trash as we go.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wouldn’t mind giving my name. The thing is I am in the middle of the beach, no where near the street, and my priority is to keep the dogs away from the Plover plot. After the eggs hatch, it is going to be even more challenging because the stretch of land will go from the dune to the shoreline. Folks think it is safe to let their dogs run freely along the shoreline but it really is not, that is exactly where the baby birds will be feeding.


  5. Thank you for bringing attention to this disturbing behavior! I hope something can be done to stop people from taking dogs to our beautiful beach in summer – from disturbing the amazing plovers – and from leaving trash with so little care for the consequences.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes very true Chris, getting the word out is the best. I think if we have to do another post, I’ll ask people to share it. Perhaps if they are still reading this one they can share this information.


  6. This simply makes me so angry I could scream. I do not know what to do. Civilian police volunteers might work but also might be dangerous. There are some serious nuts out there and they might be there more or less with their dogs. If they were sane they would not be running their dogs loose on Good Harbor at present. We can not even afford lifeguards at two popular public beaches so I doubt if police patrols is an option. The best hope is animal control, but she may be over committed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The police do a tremendous job in our community and I don’t think the answer lies in adding to their list of responsibilities. Ill try to come up with something this weekend when I get a break from work.


  7. Thanks, Kim, for fighting the good fight. I would hope getting the word out would work but it is sadly not enough. I hate to say it but we need more policing. Fines could pay for some of the clean up. That people would picnic in a cordoned off area for the plovers is disgusting. And left their trash. Let us know if we can do anything to support your efforts besides writing here.

    Liked by 1 person

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