Sandy Hook beach concerts canceled over protected birds

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A piping plover at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge in Newbury, Massachusetts. (USFWS)

A concert series on a popular New Jersey beach is canceled this summer to protect dozens of shorebirds nesting there.

Piping plovers usually only visit Sandy Hook but this year, unusually, 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.

Sandy Hook is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, which encompasses parts of New York City and New Jersey.

"We want these special birds to thrive. The park did try to find an alternative location, but could not identify anything that meets the Foundation’s needs or the spirit of what this program has become," Gateway Superintendent Jen Nersesian said. "We are disappointed right alongside our visitors, but appreciate everyone’s support in helping to save a species on the brink."

Sandy Hook has supported nearly half of New Jersey's plover pairs the last decade.