Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Piping Plover

Piping Plovers are "threatened and endangered" shorebirds. They breed along the northeastern Atlantic Coast and in the northern Great Plains and winter along the coast from the Carolinas to the Gulf Coast and West Indies. Censuses in 2001 found fewer than 3,000 breeding pairs (Elliott-Smith and Haig 2004). The species' survival depends on conservation management, including fencing off nests, restricting off-road vehicles on beaches and dunes, water-level management both above and below Great Plains dams, and predator control.

The first photo is of a winter-plumaged bird, probably a female, taken on Sanibel Island, Florida.  The second is of a male breeding bird taken near Aberdeen South Dakota. You could guess that the second bird is from the Great Plains, since, unlike Atlantic breeders, inland Piping Plovers have a complete neck band. The two populations are recognized as being of different subspecies.

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