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Duxbury’s piping plovers prompt party to be canceled

A Piping Plover on Duxbury Beach in June 2013.

David L Ryan/Globe Staff

A Piping Plover on Duxbury Beach in June 2013.

The piping plovers in Duxbury have proved to be party poopers. For the second year in a row, the threatened birds have forced cancellation of the Annual Duxbury Beach Party, officials said.

A party and bonfire, scheduled for July 5, were canceled earlier this week at a meeting of the Board of Selectmen. The tiny shorebirds nested in the same area that thousands of people were slated to gather at a bonfire and participate in holiday revelry, said Margaret Kearney, a Fourth of July Committee member.

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The crowds would disturb the birds, Kearney said.

“It’s disappointing,” Kearney said by telephone Friday. “We put a lot of effort into this party. It’s been a Duxbury tradition for almost 20 years.”

About 25 plover nests have been found on the beach and roped off. One of the restricted areas is where the bonfire was supposed to be set up, Kearney said.

“There is no way we could keep people out of that area,” Kearney said.

Last year, the Fourth of July Committee moved the event to a school field, but Kearney said it was not well attended. This year, the panel canceled the event.

However, the parade and road race scheduled for the weekend are still on.

“It is what it is,” Kearney said. “We have to protect the birds.”

Piping plovers are small shorebirds that breed on the Atlantic Coast, the Northern Great Plains, and the Great Lakes. They were federally listed as threatened and endangered in 1986, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

A large population of the birds live on the Massachusetts coast, said a spokesman for the Duxbury harbormaster.

Jacqueline Tempera can be reached at jacqueline.tempera@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @jacktemp.
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