Great Lakes Piping Plovers

Get Involved

Recovery actions, aided by many volunteers, and beach visitors have helped the plover population to steadily increase. With the help of people like you, we have found and protected breeding pairs in Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania and Ontario. We have also learned much about the winter habitats and migration of Great Lakes Piping Plovers. Please join us to help to save the Great Lakes Piping Plover for generations to come. 

How you can help when you visit the beach

-Keep pets on leashes and out of “No Pets” area

-Report any pets off-leash or in restricted areas to local monitors or local law enforcement

-Clean up any garbage left on the beach

-Don’t feed gulls, crows or other wild animals

-Report sightings of Piping Plovers in areas where there aren’t known nests (no plover fencing)

-Volunteer to help monitor Piping Plover nesting activities and survey beaches

-Fly kites and kite-boards away from plover nesting areas

Piping Plover Nest Monitors

Nest monitors, both staff and volunteer, are the backbone of Piping Plover Recovery.  If you have patience, reasonably good vision and enjoy spending time outdoors hiking on beaches and observing bird behavior in all kinds of weather consider joining the team.  A one-day training takes place in early May.


Information on nest monitoring opportunities are available at several Michigan locations from the following state and federal contacts:

Michigan State Parks - Lisa Gamero, (517) 284-6100,


Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore - Vince Cavalieri (231) 326-4751,

Hiawatha National Forest (East Unit) - Interim contact: Stephanie Schubel,


Hiawatha National Forest (West Unit) - Janet Ekstrum, (906) 474-6442 x 140,


Grand Marais, Escanaba, and other Upper Peninsula locations - Interim contact: Stephanie Schubel,

Other States Interim contact: Stephanie Schubel,

Canada - Birds Canada,

Bark Rangers

We know there's nothing better than spending a day on the beach with your family/friends, including those furry four-legged ones. However, sometimes our loveable best friends don't know that making new friends isn't always as innocent as it may seem. When our dogs run freely in the areas where nesting shorebirds, including Piping Plovers, are they're usually just curious and sniffing the area for great smells. However, when they run through a nesting area or playfully chase a Piping Plover, our dogs can actually lead to increased stress for the birds, potential nest/chick abandonment, or even the risk of increased predation from wild animals (fox, raccoon, mink, etc...).

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has begun an educational program to help inform dog owners about responsible ways to enjoy the beach with their pets. If you have a well behaved dog you can volunteer to spend time on a beach where dogs are allowed making educational contacts with other dog owners.

For information about joining the bark ranger program contact:

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore - Vince Cavalieri (231) 326-4751,

Winter Observers

Much of  what we know about the eight to nine months of the year that Great Lakes Piping Plovers aren't in the Great Lakes area is through the efforts of the many citizen scientists who take time to record and report the band colors on plovers that they see in migration and on their wintering territories. There's not need to sign up to help with this very important activity. Simply record and report your observations

Have you seen a Piping Plover on your beach?

Report breeding sightings.

Report non-breeding sightings.

©​​​ GLPIPL  2017