By Meg Jones
Looking like cotton balls on toothpicks, the piping plover chicks skittered across the sandy beach in search of a meal.
Only a few days old, the chicks didn't need their hovering parents to find them food. The piping plover is pretty well self-sufficient from the moment it busts out of its tiny speckled egg that looks like one of the many pebbles on the beach.
But they do have other caregivers watching out for their safety on this narrow strip of land in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, the only known nesting site in Wisconsin for the endangered bird.
This summer it's Andrew Harry and Sarah Lehner, recent college graduates who are taking four-day shifts camping on Long Island as plover monitors.
"The long and short of it is I'm spying on birds. To make sure they reach maturity we have to watch over them," said Lehner, who earned a degree in wildlife biology in May at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. "I'm kind of a bird baby sitter."
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