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Great Lakes Piping Plovers

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The Piping Plover is a small shorebird that nests in three separate geographic populations in the United States and Canada: The Northern Great Plains, the shores of the Great Lakes, and along the Atlantic coast. Birds from all three populations winter on the southern Atlantic and Gulf coasts in the United States, as well as in the Caribbean. This website features the Great Lakes population, which is listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Hover cursor over photo to pause slideshow

Male Great Lakes Piping Plovers have a forehead band that reaches from eye to eye and a bright orange base to the bill. 

Piping Plover in the Great Lakes - USFWS

A video about Piping Plover recovery efforts.

The shores of the Great Lakes were once home to nearly 800 pairs of Piping Plovers. In 1990 that number had dropped to 13. In 1986, the Great Lakes population of Piping Plovers was placed on the Federal Endangered Species list. Their population decline was, in part, due to nest disturbance and predation as well as habitat deterioration. With protection the population has increased to around 70 nesting pairs in the Great Lakes.  The Great Lakes Piping Plover Conservation Team -- a partner group of federal and state agencies, Great Lakes tribes, universities, non-governmental organizations and interested private citizens -- works for recovery of this unique shorebird of the Great Lakes beaches.

The Piping Plover
- music in the dunes -

 "...if I were required to name a sound, the remembrance of which most perfectly revives the impression which the beach has made, it would be the dreary peep of the piping plover (Charadrius melodus) which haunts there"

-Henry David Thoreau

* Recording credit: Patrick Turgeon, XC328023.

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For general inquiries please send an email here:

You can DONATE HERE if you would like to support Piping Plover recovery, protection and conservation in the Great Lakes.


This is a tax deductible Foundation through the University of Minnesota. 100% of your donation will go towards equipment or activities that benefit this endangered bird.

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