Federally endangered piping plovers normally live five or six years, but one female in the Great Lakes is 14 years old (the oldest known piping plover in the region)!
One of her chicks that was born over the summer was recently spotted on Sanibel Island — roughly 1,500 miles from where the bird hatched in Michigan.
SCCF Shorebird Technician Aaron White helped gather the banding data, which contributes to important population information for this threatened species. Piping plovers are one of several “snowbird” species that winter on Sanibel, with others including red knots, dunlins, and short-billed dowitchers.
“This is the first re-sight of a banded fledge from this year’s breeding season, signifying the first of many successful migratory journeys from freshly fledged piping plovers,” White said. “It was a particularly exciting find!”
Banding piping plovers helps ornithologists track piping plovers as they make the epic migration from their Great Lakes breeding grounds to their wintering grounds along the southern U.S. coast.
Piping plovers have been listed under the Endangered Species Act since the 1980s.