As today is the last day of summer, we wanted to share an exciting conservation story from this season featuring one of the four piping plover chicks that successfully fledged from Presque Isle State Park’s Gull Point in July.
The chick, “L215,” pictured above, was spotted on the beaches of northern Florida on Sept. 8! Identified by his or her colored leg bands, the chick was observed, photographed and reported to the Great Lakes Piping Plover Recovery Team at the University of Minnesota by long-time, dedicated shorebird volunteers Pat and Doris Leary.
2018 marked the second consecutive year that a pair of federally endangered piping plovers raised their chicks on Gull’s Point. This year, all four chicks fledged the nest in July.
The success and persistence of the piping plover is a testament to the power of partnerships, specifically the federal, state and non-governmental organizations that have worked together for the return of these birds, both within the state and beyond.
Great Lakes piping plovers are federally endangered species and are safeguarded under the Endangered Species Act. Since most of Pennsylvania’s breeding birds only spend a fraction of their lifetime in the state, migrating to warmer climates in later summer to fall, full-cycle conservation is essential for their survival and population growth.
Piping plovers will spend approximately eight months of the year along the southeast Atlantic, Gulf Coasts and surrounding islands. In fact, L215’s mother was seen wintering in the Bahamas in 2016. These birds often winter in the same areas from year-to-year, so it is likely she travels from Pennsylvania to the Bahamas every year! That’s quite a journey for a bird about the size of a sparrow.
Conserving wintering areas is as important as protecting breeding sites during the summer. Click here to read more about the importance of full life-cycle bird conservation for Pennsylvania’s birds.