What is a Piping Plover?
When to Look for Piping Plovers
Where to Look for Piping Plovers
How the Park Service helps Piping Plovers
During incubation, each pair of piping plovers is checked daily to make sure that both are present and taking care of their eggs. If something should happen to one of the pair, the other is likely to abandon the nest. In that case, park personnel will transport the eggs to the University of Michigan Biological Station to be raised in captivity and released when they are independent.
Getting to Know Individual Piping Plovers
Plover Behaviors to Watch
From late April through Early June
Territory defense – Both males and females engage in territory defense. They walk shoulder to shoulder along the boundary with the birds from the adjacent territory. Sometimes they lower their heads, puff up their back feathers, and charge at a trespassing bird.
Scraping – Males lay on their chests and scrape out nest sites by kicking backwards with their legs.
Incubation and trading incubation duties – Both parents participate equally in incubating (sitting on the eggs). When it is time to trade duties one bird runs quickly to the nest and the other then runs away.
Feeding – Plovers spend much of their day eating insects, spiders, and other small creatures.
During June and July
Brooding – During the first week after hatching, chicks are unable to maintain their own body temperature. They spend much time tucked in under their parents’ wings staying warm. You might see a fat-looking adult bird that appears to have up to 10 legs!
Territory Defense – See the description in the April through June section
Chick Defense – The adults take turns watching over their chicks and defending them from predators. They sometimes do a broken-wing act to lead predators away. They also give a call that warns the chicks to hide if danger threatens.
Feeding - See the description in the April through June section.
How you can help protect Piping Plovers?
Please help protect piping plovers:
Visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service web site for more information about Piping Plover in the Great Lakes area.
Last updated: December 21, 2017