Piping Plovers are small, endangered shorebirds in Manitoba. Its call is described as a "plaintive peep-lo" which made it the perfect name for this blog as it too is a plaintive call, a Call to Action.

09 May 2012

Another Season Begins

Hello and welcome to the 2012 Peep-lo blog. My first post last year asked some questions. A year later, let me try to give you some short answers.

I have not seen any results of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill study, however of the nine plovers we identified last year across the province three of them were banded as part of the study. Each of these birds had a green flag band on their upper left leg indicating they were banded along the Gulf Coast as part of the study. One mated with an unbanded female, but went missing on June 22, 2011.

Although the 'Weather Bomb' of October 2010 did not adversely effect the ability of plovers to nest at Grand Beach, extreme high water levels around the South basins of Lake Winnipeg and Lake Manitoba did reduce available nesting habitat. It was nearly non-existent around Lake Manitoba.

It appeared that one, possibly two out of the three chicks we banded in 2010 returned. However, as the band combinations were incomplete, i.e. a band was modified or missing, we cannot be 100% sure that they were the ones banded at Grand Beach in 2010.

The chick that we banded in 2009 and that turned up on a beach near Grand Marais, Michigan in 2010 turned up last year about 100 kilometres south of Grand Marais near Port Inland, Michigan. I will write more on the adventures of Mr. Black in a future post.

Although results of last year's international piping plover breeding census are still being compiled, it appears for certain that numbers across Canada's prairies, of which we are considered part, will be down. Under the strict protocol of the survey conducted June 4-17, 2011, the final report will show that only one pair of plovers nested and were counted in Manitoba. However, we are confident that we identified nine different birds over the complete spring/summer season.

So far this year water levels are down exposing some prime nesting habitat. However, my colleague and I have identified only one piping plover to date. Although they should be back, it is still early so hopefully reports will filter in over the next few weeks. If in your travels you identify a piping plover or discover a nest, the Recovery Team would like to hear about it immediately. Please call the Manitoba Piping Plover Stewardship Program at 204-945-6817. Thank you.

Grand Beach - photo Ken Porteous

Best regards,
Ken Porteous
Recovery Program Coordinator