The Lost Bird Project | Film

Piping Plover

Priority Species

Piping Plover

The Piping Plover is a small, sparrow-sized migratory shorebird that nests and feeds along coastal sand and gravel beaches in North America. The Atlantic coast population of about 1,500 pairs breeds on ocean beaches from Newfoundland to South Carolina. Wintering areas include the southeast Atlantic coast from North Carolina to Florida and the Gulf Coast south to the Yucatan Peninsula.

The birds feed on small insects, worms and aquatic invertebrates along the waters edge. 

In the 19th century and early 20th century, the Piping Plover population was decimated by overhunting for consumption and millinery trade.  With the passage of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 1918, the population rebounded. In the decades following World War II, rapid development and shoreline stabilization efforts near nesting sites lead to a second decline. 

The species is listed as near-threatened and has been increasing in population in recent years.  However, degradation of summer and winter habitat, shoreline erosion, human disturbance of nesting and foraging birds, and predation threaten the recovery of this species.