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Endangered Species Program
Conserving and restoring threatened and endangered species and their ecosystems
Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus)
Great Lakes Population
The piping plover is a small shorebird that nests in the three separate geographic populations in the U.S.: the Great Plains states, the shores of the Great Lakes, and the shores of the Atlantic coast. Birds from all populations winter on 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.
Recovery actions 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.
Listen to a podcast!
Jack Dingledine, the Great Lakes Piping Plover Recovery Coordinator talks about the piping plover's conservation story.
Piping Plover Conservation Video
About Piping Plovers:
USFWS East Lansing Michigan Field Office Piping Plover Home
USFWS Chicago Field Office's Piping Plover Spotlight
Piping Plover Conservation and Recovery
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)
Piping Plover Critical Habitat:
Links to Information about Other Piping Plover Populations:
Last updated: February 19, 2019