Visiting Nantucket a few years ago, I was dismayed to hear some of the island’s wealthy retirees complaining that the damned piping plovers were keeping them from their chosen fishing spots. The plovers, small beach-nesting birds, are a threatened species along the Atlantic coast and endangered in the Midwest. And I had naively assumed that people with the money to summer in one of the world’s priciest destinations might have a little sympathy for birds that barely manage to survive at all on the open beach.
Not so. The recreational anglers were determined to drive their off-road vehicles out the sandy spit of land called Great Point to their favorite surfcasting spots, and they were enraged that designated protected areas and buffer zones around plover nests blocked certain areas in breeding season.