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Cartoon picture of a Piping Plover.


Great Lakes Piping Plovers

Captive-raised adult male Great Lakes Piping Plover.

This male was raised in our captive-rearing facility.

Hover cursor over photo to pause slideshow


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 Bahamas. This website features the Great Lakes population, which is listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act.

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. There are currently around 65-70 nesting pairs in the Great Lakes Population. In 1986, the piping plover was placed on the Federal Endangered Species list. Their rapid population decline was, in part, due to nest disruption and predation as well as habitat deterioration.  The Great Lakes Piping Plover Conservation Team a partner group of Federal and State Agencies, Great Lakes Tribes, Universities, Non-government 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.

Accessible at

Have you seen a Piping Plover on your beach?

Report breeding sightings.

Report non-breeding sightings.

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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