Piping Plovers are a species of shorebird. They’ve faced difficulties with their population numbers because they face several threats in their habitats. Before 1918, they were almost hunted to extinction. Then the Migratory Bird Treaty Act came into effect. This allowed them to make somewhat of a recovery, but then they suffered again in the 1940s due to human development.1
Three Piping Plover populations exist within the United States: · Along the East Coast · Within the upper Great Lakes · In rivers and wetlands in the northern Great Plains1
These birds breed on beaches. Threats to them include: · Coastal development · Recreation · Invasive species · Predators · Erosion · Humans driving in their habitats · Dogs being off-leash2
These things can stress the birds out and they end up abandoning their nests.2
Scientists have put certain measures in place to save Piping Plover nests and keep their breeding areas safe from disturbance. The first option they tried out was to fence off these precious areas and put signs up to keep people away. This worked to increase the hatching rate of their eggs by 35%. However, chicks were still lost after hatching, so they tried captive rearing. Due to captive rearing, fledging success was over 90%, without it, the success rate was between 25% and 76%.3
Even with this success, Piping Plovers are still considered endangered in many states within the U.S.1
We covered the Migratory Bird Treaty Act on our blog – check it out!