The piping plover is a small shorebird that nests in the three separate geographic populations in the U.S.: the Great Plains states, the shores of the Great Lakes, and the shores of the Atlantic coast. Birds from all populations winter on the southern Atlantic and Gulf coasts in the U.S. This website features the Great Lakes population, which is listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Recovery actions in Michigan, aided by many volunteers, has helped the plover population to steadily increase. In 2008, there were 63 breeding pairs (126 individuals). Of these, 53 pairs nested in Michigan, while 10 were found outside the state, including six pairs in Wisconsin and four in Ontario, Canada. A single breeding pair discovered in 2007 in the Great Lakes region of Canada represented the first confirmed piping plover nest there in over 30 years, and in 2008 the number of nesting pairs further increased to four. In 2009, a pair nested on the Lake Michigan shoreline in Illinois, the first nest in Illinois in 30 years.