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Old Orchard Beach July 4th fireworks show will go on after piping plover chicks hatch and relocate

While piping plover nests are not uncommon in this area, this nest was unusual because of its location, said Laura Minich Zitzke, Maine Audubon Society coastal birds project director.
While piping plover nests are not uncommon in this area, this nest was unusual because of its location, said Laura Minich Zitzke, Maine Audubon Society coastal birds project director.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

The July Fourth fireworks show in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, will go on as planned after concerns about a nearby piping plover nest were relieved when the chicks hatched, town officials said.

While piping plover nests are not uncommon in this area, this nest was unusual because of its location, said Laura Minich Zitzke, Maine Audubon Society coastal birds project director.

“We had a very wet spring, so the birds ended up laying eggs right in front of Palace Playland park, a very busy part of the beach,” Zitzke said. This caused concerns that they would be disrupted by the loud noises and abundance of visitors, she said.

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However, the chicks hatched Friday and have moved from their nest, and they may continue to move, Zitzke said.

Old Orchard Beach has fireworks every Thursday, but the first event of the season, scheduled for June 27, had to be canceled because of the nest, Assistant Town Manager Louise Reid said in a telephone interview.

“A lot of people show up because it’s tourist season up here, it’s busy,” Reid said.

The news was first reported by the Portland Press Herald.

During a meeting Tuesday of the Maine Audubon Society, the Old Orchard police, the town manager’s office, public works, and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the organizations agreed to make sure there would be volunteers onsite to safeguard the nest.

Piping plovers are endangered, Zitske said, and it is important to protect them.

“They are federally listed as an endangered species in the state of Maine,” she said. “They are completely reliant on wide-reaching beaches in order to nest and raise their young. The things we do to protect piping plover nests are things we do to protect our beaches as well.”


Maria Lovato can be reached at maria.lovato@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @maria_lovato99.

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