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Preparing to Head North

Great Lakes Piping Plovers are beginning to molt into alternate (breeding) plumage in preparation for their trip back north.

Pat and Doris Leary have documented for years the difference in molt and migration timing between plovers from the Atlantic Coast population and those from the Great Lakes. Atlantic plovers molt and migrate several weeks ahead of those from the Great Lakes.

These photos were all taken by Pat and Doris Leary in Georgia on March 24th. The first row are Great Lakes Piping Plovers. The last two are from the Atlantic Coast population. Of,YO:X,G who nests at Silver Lake State Park (the second plover) is relatively far along in his molt. Will he be among the earliest to return?

Exciting to see the Great Lakes birds getting ready to head back our way. We expect the first arrivals in mid-April.


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