Great Lakes Piping Plover
The Great Lakes piping plover is a small sand-colored shorebird that nests exclusively on the wide sandy beaches and dune systems of the Great Lakes. Their plumage so resembles that of the sand around them, that the birds can be very difficult to spot. However, if you listen closely when out on Great Lake's beaches you may be alerted to their presence by the clear bell like calls that give the species its name. These birds lay their eggs in small scrapes on the beach that they line with small pebbles and shells. The Great Lakes piping plover is one of the most critically endangered species in the entire region. Once found across much of the Great Lakes Basin, decades of declines caused by loss of habitat and other factors resulted in only a handful of birds surviving in remote parts of Northern Michigan. Since the species was listed as part of the Federal Endangered Act in 1986, the Great Lakes Piping Plover Conservation Team, consisting of a wide variety of partner groups from federal and state agencies, non-profit groups, Universities, tribes and others, has been diligently protecting the birds and their habitat. Under the guidance of the team, the Great Lakes piping plover has slowly rebounded in numbers and has reclaimed some former breeding areas in other parts of Michigan, Wisconsin and Ontario. The goal of the team is to achieve recovery for the Great Lakes piping plover so that one day it can be removed from the Endangered Species List and once more the piping calls of the birds can be heard from beaches throughout the Great Lakes Basin.
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