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What are Piping Plovers?

Piping Plovers are small, sand-colored shorebirds, between the size of a sparrow and a robin, that nest only on wide beaches between sand dunes and the shoreline. The Great Lakes population of these birds are listed as endangered due to nesting habitat loss and disturbance by humans, their pet dogs, and ATV traffic.

Piping Plovers were listed as endangered back in 1986, when there were only 16 nesting pairs left around the Great Lakes. Since then, the number of pairs has grown to 70, as of 2014. We still have a long way to go. 


Photo of an adult female Piping Plover.
Photo by Royce Galindo 2018.




Project Goal

The goal of the Piping Plover Project is to get these birds off the endangered species list by helping their population reach a higher, stable number closer to what occurred naturally before human interference. 

To accomplish this, two Piping Plover "Monitors" are recruited every year to monitor the areas where these birds nest. Every day during breeding season, they walk the beaches to find and guard plover nests, watch for signs of natural predators and human disturbances, assist in plover chick banding, and educate the public visitors, especially those who bring dogs.

Informational signs are also posted along the beaches where the plovers are nesting. If you come across a roped-off area or beach, please do not enter it, even if you cannot see the plovers. Keep pets close to you and do not approach any birds.


A Piping Plover chick receives its leg bands. Photo by Royce Galindo 2018.



Who's Involved?

This project is a cooperative effort between the Bad River Natural Resources Department, the National Parks Service Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, the U.S. Fish and Wilslide Service, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the Nature Conservancy. 


BadRiverNRD LogoTextBad-River-Band-of-Lake-Superior-Chippewa2  460px-US-NationalParkService-Logo.svg   US-FWS-logo  DNRlogoprocess   the-nature-conservancy



If you see plover behaviors like these, please report them
to the Bad River Natural Resources Department. 


display9A pair of plovers close by each other, AND/OR a bird is acting as if injured.

chick6A Piping Plover chick fleeing.

Plover chicks are able to run around feed themselves soon after hatching, so if you don't see an adult plover around immediately, it may not mean a chick has been abandoned. If you find a chick that you are certain is a Piping Plover and it does NOT have colored leg bands as seen in this picture, take note of your location, leave the chick alone, and let us know. 



MIIGWETCH (Thank You)!