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The SPCA Monterey County Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center recently welcomed the joyful arrival of tiny snowy plover babies which were hatched at the center after their eggs were discovered abandoned at a local beach.
Snowy plovers are a threatened species due to habitat loss, human disturbance and predation, according to the SPCA.
When eggs from the species are discovered that might be viable, the Monterey wildlife rescue team incubates them and hopes for the best — the eggs are incredibly fragile and even small damage can kill the chicks inside.
The eggs that found themselves at the center came from two separate locations on the same Moss Landing beach on the same day, according to staff.
The first snowy plover was found by Point Blue Conservation Science staff. The chick’s siblings had already hatched, but this baby was still inside its shell when a wave washed it out of its nest. Once placed in an incubator, the little guy declared himself ready for the world and began to hatch two hours later, staff said.
Three other eggs that had been washed away by waves were discovered later that same day. Staff said they were unsure if they could save the birds, as one was in mid-hatch and had sustained damage when it was found. But thankfully, all three hatched safely and survived.
According to the SPCA, all four plovers are being raised as a group together. Once they reach four or five weeks of age they will be re-released into the wild; they have already moved to an outdoor aviary to get used to the idea of Monterey weather and to learn how to forage for food.
The SPCA Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center is the only full service wildlife rehabilitation center serving Monterey County. Each year, the center admits over 2,500 animals for treatment and care.