At 66 pairs, this season marks the second highest breeding pair total since the Great Lakes piping plover was listed as endangered (and quite a long time before that) and the second highest number of chicks fledged at 124.
We saw continued nesting success in Ontario and Wisconsin as well as excellent fledged numbers from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We also saw birds return to former breeding areas in northern Leelanau County, Michigan and on Manitoulin Island in Ontario.
While predators were problems at many of our southern locations this year, biologists and monitors at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore worked dawn to dusk and even into the night to help many of plovers successfully renest! Sleeping Bear Dunes continues to be the summer home for over 1/3 of all Great Lakes piping plovers.
The Detroit Zoo staff and other zoo keepers, who come from all over the country, helped 9 chicks fledge from our captive rearing facility. After release, these captive reared chicks flew down to the southern Atlantic Coast and Gulf Coast with their wild reared counterparts. It's amazing how quickly summer goes by whenyou are working with plovers, already most of the birds are back on their wintering grounds and have molted into their winter plumage.
We have a truly great (and large!) partnership protecting and conserving plovers in the Lakes including federal, state and provincial agencies, nonprofits, university researchers, tribes, and dozens and dozens of regular folks who volunteer. Seeing birders and others get so excited for these birds by reporting sightings, volunteering for beach surveys, working towards habitat preservation and contributing time for education and other endeavors gives hope that we can keep piping plovers on the road to recovery and even restore them to more of their historic range.