Date of this Version
Published in Human Dimensions of Wildlife 20:367 (2015), pp. 360–367. doi: 10.1080/10871209.2015.1020579
Piping plovers (Charadrius melodus) are shorebirds federally protected by the U.S. Endangered Species Act that often nest on beaches in proximity to human recreation. We evaluated whether awareness of piping plovers and their legally protected status and attitudes toward species management varied between groups of recreationists at Lake McConaughy, Keith County, Nebraska, USA. Awareness of piping plovers varied primarily by the respondents’ number of annual visits to Lake McConaughy; the respondents’ age, sex, or location of primary residence had less influence. Recreationists with increased awareness of piping plovers and their protected status did not have more favorable attitudes toward plovers and recreation restrictions. The more frequently recreationists visited Lake McConaughy, the less receptive they were to alternative management strategies. Piping plover recovery plans should incorporate general and site-specific human dimensions guidance for conservation practitioners. Additional studies are needed to identify approaches to resolve bird–human conflicts.