Piping Plovers

In the spring and summer months, Scarborough’s beaches are home to several pairs of endangered piping plovers. In fact, the piping plover is our official town bird!

Piping plovers are small, sandy-colored birds that nest in front of sand dunes on the upper beach. They are vulnerable to natural predators, roaming pets, storms, and human activity. Historically, Maine has had more than 30 miles of nesting beaches that may have been home to more than 200 pairs of piping plovers. Today, because of development around Maine’s beaches, piping plovers' habitat has been reduced by 75%. In 2019, there were 89 pairs in the state, from Ogunquit to Georgetown. 

Scarborough works closely with partners from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Maine Audubon to protect the plovers on our beaches. Each year, volunteers from Scarborough and beyond are trained as beach

monitors and visit our beaches to educate beach goers about the birds and our ordinances. If you're interested in becoming a Volunteer Beach Monitor, click the button below to sign up.

Volunteers are asked to attend an annual training prior to their first monitoring shift. The 2020 training is available online by clicking the button below.

If you have any questions about becoming a Volunteer Beach Monitor, please contact Jami Fitch, Sustainability Coordinator, at jfitch@scarboroughmaine.org.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfINDREVfjp64M1LfPBEdbfg3abgVvCFXWeCNVI5k9sgWoYcg/viewform?usp=sf_link          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAkBorFd4LM&feature=youtu.be

You can help protect endangered piping plovers.

  • Keep your dog leashed on the beach during nesting season and be aware of Restricted Areas, staked and twined nesting areas, and leash laws.
  • Keep away from staked and twined nesting areas. Dog owners must keep their dogs 200 feet away from fencing to avoid disturbing nesting birds and chicks.
  • Kite flying, kite surfing, and parasailing are not allowed within 650 feet of a nesting adult or juvenile piping plover.
  • Setting off fireworks is not allowed on any Town beach.
  • Use the blue trash receptacles provided on the beach. Help keep Scarborough’s beaches, parking lots, and roads clean.
  • Homeowners and renters with cats should keep their pets indoors or add a bell the cat’s collar during nesting season (April - October).


Information for dog owners

Signs are posted at beach access points and on the beach to help beach goers understand when and where dogs are allowed. Examples of the signs can be seen to the right, and general guidelines are provided below.

April 1st - Labor Day: Look for posted signs on beach indicating Restricted Areas for dogs with separate time restrictions. 

Restricted Areas: All of Scarborough’s public beaches have areas where dog access is restricted. 

  • Higgins & Ferry/Western Beaches: Dogs are not allowed in the Restricted Area.
  • Pine Point: Dogs are allowed on leash in the Restricted Area from dawn - 9AM and from 5PM - dusk. 

May 15 - Labor Day: Non-Restricted Areas
  • Dawn - 9AM: Voice & Sight Control
  • 9AM - 5PM: Prohibited on Beaches
  • 5PM - Dusk: Allowed on Leash
  • Dusk - Dawn: Prohibited
After Labor Day - May 14th:
  • 1PM - 3PM: On leash
  • Allowed off leash at all other times