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Plover Attack! Fear Seizes Hamptons

Wrong bird.


The beach-hogging endangered piping plover has made a new enemy in the Hamptons: Beth Rudin Dewoody. Her 22-year-old daughter, Kyle Dewoody (who, her mother says, is unusually prone to “bird incidents”), was walking down the Southampton beach when two plovers zoomed in toward her head, seemingly to snatch at her hair. “I guess they thought it was something they could use to build a nest,” says Dewoody. “She has long, blonde, wavy hair. I don’t think it looks like a nest.” Kyle fled. The plovers followed. “It was like something out of The Birds,” says Dewoody (who agrees the birds should be protected). Latisha Coy, director of the endangered and threatened species program for the town of East Hampton, cautions against blaming the plovers (whose roped-off nesting areas are a Hamptons hazard), pointing the finger instead at the larger, more aggressive—and officially “threatened” and therefore protected—least tern. “They’re very aggressive when their nests are in danger,” she says. “They’ll fly at you and excrete on you if you get too close. A plover would never do that.”

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