NEWPORT, Ore. — For the second time in just a week, the Oregon Coast Aquarium is caring for animals found stranded on the beach.
They recently took in three Western Snowy Plover chicks that were brought in after being rescued from a beach in Bandon.
The three chicks, currently listed as threatened under the Oregon Endangered Species Act, were found by snowy plover monitors and were taken to the aquarium by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Biologists say they were stranded on the beach after a red fox killed their parents.
One had already hatched on the beach, one hatched en route to the aquarium, and the third chick hatched shortly after arriving.
Biologists are slowly feeding them small mealworms and crickets, while being wary of human contact. They say they’re already learning how to hunt on their own.
“Because they don’t have a parent to teach them how to live on the beach, we want to make sure that they’re not associating humans with food or with good things. We want them to be defensive on the beach so we try to keep our hands off them,” said Curator of Birds CJ McCarty with the Oregon Coast Aquarium.
Once the chicks get older, biologists will expand their habitat, adding sand and possibly seaweed to make it more like their natural surroundings.
Biologists say since they’re still so young, they’ll need to stay at the aquarium in their care for about a month before being released into the wild.