Two Michigan endangered species are being observed in record numbers this year, due to the collaborative conservation efforts of the Department of Natural Resources and many partners.
“We’re really excited about the survey results for the Great Lakes piping plover and Kirtland’s warbler,” said DNR Field Operations Manager Keith Kintigh. “To have both of these species reach record numbers this year shows what great partnerships can do for wildlife conservation over time.”
Piping plovers are migratory shorebirds that nest in three distinct populations in the northern United States and Canada (the Great Plains, the Atlantic Coast and the Great Lakes) and winter mainly along the Gulf Coast. In the Great Lakes, they live near shorelines and beaches and will nest in depressions of sand with rocks, shells or sticks, which can be easily disturbed by beachgoers. To protect their young, they often will distract perceived predators with a “broken-wing” act.
In 1983, there were only 13 breeding pairs of Great Lakes piping plovers in Michigan. This year, more than 158 chicks have been banded in Michigan, Wisconsin and Canada, with more than 58 nests found in Michigan alone. Of the 58 Michigan nests, 43 were in the northern Lower Peninsula and 15 in the Upper Peninsula. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore had the highest occurrence of nests in the region. Continue reading