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Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus)
Great Lakes Population
The piping plover is a small shorebird that nests in the Great Plains states, on the shores of Lakes Michigan and Superior, and along the Atlantic coast - all populations winter along the southern Atlantic and Gulf coasts in the U.S. This website features the Great Lakes population, which is listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act.
An active recovery program in Michigan, aided by many volunteers, has helped the plover population to steadily increase. In 2008, there were 63 breeding pairs (126 individuals). Of these, 53 pairs nested in Michigan, while 10 were found outside the state, including six pairs in Wisconsin and four in Ontario, Canada. A single breeding pair discovered in 2007 in the Great Lakes region of Canada represented the first confirmed piping plover nest there in over 30 years, and in 2008 the number of nesting pairs further increased to four. In 2009, a pair nested on the Lake Michigan shoreline in Illinois, the first nest in Illinois in 30 years.
Conservation and Recovery Information:
September 22, 2009: 5-Year Review (206-page 1MB PDF)
September 2, 2009: Strong Partnership Benefits Wisconsin Piping Plovers
August 11, 2009 - Endangered Piping Plover Chicks Make History. Three chicks are from first Illinois nest in 30 years.
2006 S6 Grant Project - Great Lakes Shoreline Project
2006 Habitat Conservation Planning Land Acquisition Grant: Point Betsie Piping Plover HCP (Benzie County, MI)
Section 6 Grant: Determination of the status of Piping Plovers, Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid, Prairie Bush Clover, Fassett's Locoweed, and implement recovery management for Karner Blue Butterfly and Fassett's Locoweed (Wisconsin)
Natural History and Regulatory Information:
USFWS Chicago Field Office's Species Spotlight
Links to Information about Other Piping Plover Populations:
Last updated: June 5, 2013