The search is on for piping plovers

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region

The International Piping Plover Census, which takes place every five years, is conducted in part to answer an important question: where exactly do piping plovers spend their winters? This winter, the USFWS Migratory Birds Division participated in the first ever comprehensive piping plover and shorebird census on the Turks and Caicos Islands, an island group located in the northern Caribbean just east of the Bahamas and Cuba, as part of the effort. And these efforts paid off, finding more than 3,200 shorebirds of 17 species, including 96 piping plovers! Although 96 birds may not seem like very much, it is actually a significant number. Here’s why.

USFWS_NestingPlover Piping plover with chick at their summer nesting site. Credit: Dave Frederick/Creative Commons

Each fall, piping plovers depart from nesting sites along the North American Atlantic Coast, Great Plains, and Great Lakes and fly south toward warmer weather. Many plovers spend their winters in the southern United States, along…

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