Sandy Hook summer concert series canceled due to endangered nesting birds

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SANDY HOOK -

A concert series on a popular New Jersey beach has been canceled this summer to protect dozens of endangered shorebirds nesting there. Piping plovers usually visit Sandy Hook but this year, they've decided to build more than 20 nests.

Sandy Hook Foundation made the announcement Thursday. National Park Service officials say noise disturbs the plovers, which are federally protected shorebirds.

The groups said in a joint statement, "Noise scares the birds so much they can't focus on what they flew here to do: live on Sandy Hook for a couple of months, then move on."

Gateway Superintendent Jen Nersesian says they want "these special birds to thrive." She said alternate locations for the concerts were scouted, but a suitable spot wasn't found.

Brian Kirk of the band Brian Kirk and the Jirks says that he is disappointed he won’t be performing at Sandy Hook this summer. But he understands what had to be done.

“This is maybe a sacrifice for this little bird. That's the best I can say about it. Sometimes we’ve got to do that,” he says. “We can't have a concert on the beach, so be it. But I feel bad for the powers that be that really put in a lot of effort to organize it."

Sandy Hook has supported nearly half of New Jersey's plover pairs the last decade. There are fewer than 3,000 nesting pairs of piping plovers, according to the Sandy Hook Foundation.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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