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Migration Mystery

Last November Collin Stempien discovered the previously-unknown wintering territory of Of,bY:X,L (bYL or "Bill") at Horn Island, MS. She's a female that hatched in 2016 on North Manitou Island, in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, MI. She nested in 2017 on the Dune Plateau, high over Lake Michigan at Sleeping Bear Dunes, but in 2019 she returned to her hatch-place on North Manitou Island, where she has nested each summer since then, fledging a total of 13 chicks.

In 2023 she and her mate raised their 3 chicks until they were independent, then they both left North Manitou to head south on July 6th.

Their chicks stayed around a bit longer to get ready for their migration south.

On February 20th Collin Stempien made another discovery. One of bYL's chicks was now also on Horn Island. This particular chick (band number 465) didn't leave North Manitou Island until July 18th. How did it find its way to bYL's territory?

Was it just coincidence that brought the chick Horn Island, MS? There's much about migration that is currently beyond our understanding.

By reporting your observations of banded Piping Plovers you can further our understanding of their migratory patterns. (

We definitely hope to see them both back up in the Great Lakes in April or May.


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