Nix concerts, move fireworks — Jersey Shore makes way for birds
POINT PLEASANT BEACH — After Sandy Hook was forced to cancel its popular summer concert series because of endangered birds, other species are ruffling feathers at a second Jersey Shore attraction.
As a result of a family of American oystercatchers — a species of "special concern" to the state Division of Fish and Wildlife — and a colony of least terns and black skimmers, Jenkinson's has been forced to move their weekly fireworks display. The first display is scheduled for July 4.
"Because of the sudden nature of fireworks with the sudden booms, the state was concerned there could be some issues for the birds," Jenkinson's spokeswoman Toby Wolf told Townsquare Media.
The fireworks were moved from the area of Water Street to the former Risdin's Beach and Bath House to the south, according to Wolf.
Wolf said that the American oystercatchers and three eggs were found by a beach manager. The area was roped off to keep beachgoers away. They were soon joined by 80 pairs of least terns, which built nests and laid eggs.
A third species, the black skimmers, also began to nest in the area. Black skimmers are known to nest near least terns, relying on their aggressive behavior for added protection.
Wolf said the aquarium has turned the birds into an educational experience and has staffed the area for visitors to get a look at the birds as they nest.
"They can approach quietly and slowly but don't get too close. Sometimes they're OK if you go up to the barrier but we encourage people to hang back a little bit, use binoculars or a camera with a great lens," Wolf said. "They'll tell you if you're too close. They'll do a little swoop around you."
The Gateway National Recreation Area canceled all of this summer's concerts hosted by the Sandy Hook Foundation because of the discovery of the piping plover near Sandy Hook's Beach E, the site of the concerts.
"Plovers are a threatened and endangered species. The Park Service is legally mandated to protect the plover nest. According to Fish and Wildlife, no activity including concerts can be within 1,000 meters of the nest," NPS spokeswoman Daphne Yun told New Jersey 101.5.
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