BY CRISTINA GUARINO

Residents of Queens do not have to look far to find wildlife. With the many parks, beaches, and other recreational areas overseen by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, there is a wide variety of species in the borough.

Queens beaches provide a nesting ground for a near-endangered species of bird. The Charadrius melodus, commonly known as the piping plover and a threatened bird species, can be found along the East Coast, including Queens’ very own Rockaway Beach. It also inhabits the Great Lakes area, where it was designated in 1986 as endangered.

The birds stand at about seven to eight inches, with orange legs and beaks. They have white underbellies and sand-colored backs, wings and heads, as well as a black band around their necks. In the winter, this band disappears and their legs and beaks fade to a lighter color to promote camouflaging.

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