Federal investigators offer $5K reward for info on destruction, removal of protected shorebird eggs, nests
The National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are offering up to $5,000 for information leading to a conviction in what they're calling the intentional destruction of shorebird nests and at least one egg in incidents stretching from Queens to Southampton.
The agencies say the incidents happened between May 13 and July 6.
Several incidents took place in the area of Arverne in Queens, officials say. From May 13 to May 15, the agencies say approximately 57 American oystercatcher eggs and four piping plover eggs were taken from nests at Beach 38 and Beach 57. A blue hooded sweatshirt with a star pattern was found next to oystercatcher eggshells in that incident. A dead piping plover adult was then found at Beach 47 on May 15, and two oystercatcher nests were tampered with at Beach 64 around May 20. Protective fencing was destroyed and people were seen putting up tents in the piping plover breeding areas of Beach 56.5 on June 11 - three eggs went missing from a piping plover nest.
A destroyed oystercatcher egg was found around July 6 at the border of Breezy Point Co-Operative and Gateway National Recreation Area's Breezy Point Unit in Rockaway Point.
The Long Island incidents happened in May and June at Robert Moses State Park, Jones Beach State Park and an ocean beach in the Town of Southampton. A piping plover nest and a predator exclosure were destroyed at Robert Moses between May 23 and 24. Two piping plover nests and predator exclosures were destroyed at Jones Beach between June 11 and 14. Unleased dogs were seen June 26 near a piping plover breeding area at an ocean beach east of Shinnecock East County Park on June 26, and eggs were taken at that time.
The American oystercatcher is protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, with penalties of $15,000 and/or up to six months for each egg. The piping plover is protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, with maximum penalties of $25,000 and/or up to six months for each egg or bird.
Anyone with information about the July 6 egg incident is asked to contact Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent Kathryn McCabe at 516-318-7383, the National Park Service's Jamaica Bay Unit 24-hour dispatch at 718-354-4700 or 1-844-FWS-TIPS (397-8477). Anyone with information on the other incidents can contact McCabe at 516-825-3950 or 1-844-FWS-TIPS (397-8477).
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