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Oregon Coast Aquarium releases previously injured western snowy plover

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NEWPORT, Ore. – Oregon Coast Aquarium staff released a western snowy plover Friday morning. The bird was found entangled in thread-like beach debris earlier that week.

Daniel Farrar and Adam Kotaich, two shorebird monitors with Oregon Biodiversity Information Center, found the injured plover on Monday, July 25 at Tahkenitch Creek. They contacted U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to coordinate the bird’s capture and rehabilitation.

The bird was taken to the aquarium that afternoon and staff and veterinarians provided treatment for the two lifeless toes on the bird’s right foot. Specialist amputated the toes to prevent infection or additional injury.

“Despite losing two of her three right toes to issues stemming from entanglement, she will likely return to plover life as usual, based on numerous observations and reports of other wild plovers with similar foot disabilities,” said Daniel Elbert, USFWS biologist at the Newport field office. “If she hadn’t been captured and treated, it’s possible she could’ve lost her entire foot, or worse.”

Aquarium staff monitored the bird until a veterinarian confirmed the plover was in good health and could return to the wild.

“Snowy plovers spend a lot of time on their feet, and unfortunately they are susceptible to foot-entanglement issues,” said Elbert. “It highlights the importance of keeping Oregon’s beaches clear of human-made debris, for the safety of wildlife that shares these places with us.”

The western snowy plover is a native, endangered shorebird that lives year-round along the Pacific coast.

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