There is an egg bandit loose in Queens. An endangered egg bandit, no less. Because people are awful. Park police are currently investigating the vandalism of two piping plover nests in a protected nesting area in Breezy Point.
Officials believe the eggs, which went missing on July 4th, were taken by a collector. That's because the eggs were very carefully removed from an enclosure set up to four feet off the ground to hold them. "The exclosure was not beat up or bent, there were just two holes ripped at the top of the net," Tony Luscombe, biological technician with the National Resource Management Division of Gateway National Recreation Area, told the Daily News. "The eggs were just gone. That’s the only specific reason I can think of."
The punishment for stealing plover eggs ranges from $5,000 to $250,000 and can inclue serving up to two years in prison.
So, what's a piping plover and why are their eggs so important? According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:
The piping plover is a small, stocky, sandy-colored bird resembling a sandpiper. The adult has yellow-orange legs, a black band across the forehead from eye to eye, and a black ring around the base of its neck. Like other plovers, it runs in short starts and stops. When still, the piping plover blends into the pale background of open, sandy habitat on outer beaches where it feeds and nests. The bird's name derives from its call notes, plaintive bell-like whistles which are often heard before the birds are seen.
Also? They are really cute, as you can see in this soothing little video showing the animal go from egg to chick:
Do you know anything about these missing eggs? Breezy Point park superintendent Linda Canzalli is urging anyone with information to contact U.S. Park Police at 718-338-3988.