Piping Plover Chick
Shawn P. Carey

Meet Melody, a Piping Plover with problems. It's been just over a month since Melody hatched from a small speckled egg no larger than a golf ball. Originally one of three chicks, Melody is already on her own. Her newly hatched sister and brother were killed by raccoons, and though Melody survived, more threats face her in the year ahead...

It is almost fall in the Northeast. Melody's parents and most of the other plovers that nest on Orient Beach on Long Island, New York, are nowhere to be found. Melody's parents left as soon as she could fly--which young plovers do within a few weeks of hatching. Most plovers have begun their long migration to their wintering grounds a thousand miles away.

Melody will migrate too. She's never made the journey before, but her instincts tell her to follow her parents south to warmer climates. The days are growing shorter and though the warmth of summer still hangs on, colder temperatures are on their way. Alone on the beach, Melody knows it's past time to go. She takes flight, leaving behind the only world she's ever known.

But birds don't watch the weather forecast. Melody had no way of knowing that as she left Long Island Hurricane Rachel was churning its way across Cuba towards the coast of Florida, and towards her.


What's next for Melody?  Read the next segment to find out!

Take action to protect critical Piping Plover habitat on Plum Island, New York 

Narrator's Note: At Audubon, October is plover month.  This installment is the first in our five part series following Melody's first migration.  Melody herself is not real though the challenges she faces are. Only 8,000 adult Piping Plovers remain in the wild. Follow Melody's journey to learn more about Piping Plovers and what you can do to help shorebirds and their habitats everywhere. Visit the plover homepage.