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Piping Plover

These small shoreline birds can be spotted in both the United States and Canada.

The Piping Plover is a threatened inhabitant of alkali flats, shorelines, and sandbars. Human disturbance, flooding, and predation all take their toll on the population. Piping Plovers are territorial, with an interesting method of interacting with a neighboring bird. Both birds run parallel to each other back and forth along their shared territorial boundary for up to 30 minutes at a time.

Piping Plovers exhibit a fairly strong tendency to return to breeding areas in subsequent years. They also frequently return to the same wintering areas in subsequent years. Piping Plovers have been known to live over eleven years in the wild.


Description of the Piping Plover


The Piping Plover is a small plover with pale sandy upperparts, white underparts, and orange legs.

– Broken black breast band and forehead patch.
– Black-tipped, orange bill.
– Length: 9 in.  Wingspan: 18 in.

Piping Plover

Photograph © Greg Lavaty.


Sexes similar.

Seasonal change in appearance

Winter birds have black bills and lose the breast band and forehead patch.


Juveniles resemble winter adults.


Beaches and tidal flats.


Insects and crustaceans.


Forages by walking and running.


Breeds locally in the central and western U.S. and Canada, the Great Lakes, and along the Atlantic Coast. Winters along the southern Atlantic Coast and the Gulf Coast. Population trends vary by location.

More information:

Bent Life History

Visit the Bent Life History for extensive additional information on the Piping Plover.


Fun Facts

Piping Plovers frequently return to the same breeding area in subsequent years.

There are two subspecies of Piping Plovers made up of birds from the Atlantic Coast and those inland.


A unique “peep-lo” call is given.


Similar Species

Snowy Plover
Snowy Plovers have black bills and legs.

Semipalmated Plover
Semipalmated Plovers have much darker upperparts.


The nest is a scrape in a sand.

Number: 4.
Color: Buff with darker markings.

Incubation and fledging:
– Young hatch at 26-28 days.
– Young fledge (leave the nest) shortly after hatching but remain with the adults for some time.


Bent Life History of the Piping Plover

Published by the Smithsonian Institution between the 1920s and the 1950s, the Bent life history series of monographs provide an often colorful description of the birds of North America. Arthur Cleveland Bent was the lead author for the series. The Bent series is a great resource and often includes quotes from early American Ornithologists, including Audubon, Townsend, Wilson, Sutton and many others.

Bent Life History for the Piping Plover – the common name and sub-species reflect the nomenclature in use at the time the description was written.



HABITSContributed by Wiinsor Marrett Tyler

Wilson and Audubon were familiar with the piping plover as a common summer resident on the sandy beaches of the Atlantic coast. Audubon found it breeding as far north as the Magdelen Islands and wintering abundantly on the coast of Florida.

During the years between the time of these early writers and the present, the species has been subjected to many seasons of spring and autumn shooting which, in the closing years of the nineteenth century, brought the bird nearly to the point of extinction.

It is readily seen why persistent shooting threatened this bird’s existence. Its breeding range on the coast extends for hundreds of miles in a northerly and southerly direction, but owing to the bird’s very restricted nesting site it is narrowed in many places to a strip of beach only a few yards wide. Fortunately legislation intervened and removed the smaller plovers from the list of game birds, so that at the present time the piping plover is fast becoming one of our common summer residents again.

Spring: Compared to most of the waders, the piping plover has a short .and safe migration route. Moving along the coast where spring is further advanced than in the interior of the country, and having to pass over no large bodies of water on its way to its breeding ground, the bird pushes northward early in the season, often arriving in New England during the last days of March, the first of the shorebirds to reach our beaches.

Courtship: In his notes A. C. Bent describes the courtship thus: “I saw and heard the nuptial flight and song of this bird, lie flew in large circles or figure 8s low over the back beach near the marsh for several minutes, giving constantly a peculiar twittering whistling song.” Another entry in his notes under date, May 20, reads: “Saw piping plover mating, two males following one female. They were running around her in crouching attitude, with wings spread and trailing and with tail spread in display, uttering whistling notes.”

I once saw a male bird come up behind a crouching female and stand at full height close to her with his breast feathers puffed out and head held high, his neck stretched upward so that it was long and slim, the bird both in posture and shape resembling an upland plover. For a minute or two he stood thus while his feet beat a rapid tatoo on the sand. In this attitude of display he appeared bright colored and conspicuous in contrast to the female and the band across his breast (complete in his case) stood out sharply defined against the adjacent snowy feathers.

Nesting: The typical nesting site of the piping plovers is the belt of sand bordering lake or ocean well above high-water mark, where the surface is becoming diversified and pebble strewn and wisps of beach grass begin to grow. Here they lay their eggs, commonly with Little preparation for their reception other than a slight hollowing of the light sand, but not infrequently they collect small stones, bits of shell, or driftwood and line their nests with them or lay them near by.

The following quotations indicate differences in the appearance of the nests. In a letter to Mr. Bent, Allen H. Wood describes a very unusual nest. He says: “The nest was a hollow scooped in a mass of sand which had been piled up to a height of nearly 10 inches.

Whether the birds formed the pile or not, I do not, of course, know, but a very careful examination failed to show how else the pile could have been formed.” A. C. Bent speaks in his notes of finding at Dartmouth, Mass., “three nests containing four eggs each, all on a high, sandy and pebbly beach in the heart of a tern colony. The nests were hollows in the sand, profusely lined with broken pieces of white shell and were quite conspicuous.” E. W. Hadeler found on the shore of Lake Erie, at Painesville, Ohio, a paved nest. He says in his notes that there were “four eggs, almost the same color as the ground and stones, laid in a slight depression on some very small fiat stones and around the nest were stones of all shapes and sizes.” Philipp and Bowdish (1917) in New Brunswick “found a small colony of breeding birds, five nests, each containing four eggs, being located. The nests were on sandy beach, some in the open, others among sparse clumps of beach grass. They were slight hollows in the sand, some quite unlined, others with a well-formed rim of bits of broken shell or slate.” In a letter to Mr. Bent, Edward R. Ford calls attention to some birds nesting in an unusual environment. He says:

At Dune Park, lad., the piping plover, to the number of five or six pairs, has taken advantage of the widening of the beach (through the operations of a sand company which has removed part of the dunes) and lays its eggs at a considerable distance from the water’s edge. The old ridges formed by the tramway beds, from which the rails have been, for the most part, removed; the old cinder heaps, hits of scrap Iron and other odds and ends of human labor, with here and there patches of vetch and coarse grass, seem well teited to its requirements.

In common with some of its near relatives, the piping plover has the habit of making additional hollows in the sand in the vicinity of the hollow in which its eggs are laid. These hollows have been termed co~k nests and have been compared to the nests which the male of some of the wrens builds while his mate is sitting.

My notes, taken on Cape Cod in the company of Charles A. Robbins in mid April, refer to this subject:

After some 10 minutes, during which time the two birds stood motionless on the sand facing the wind, they began to move about, the male taking visible Interest In the female and following her as she walked away. They came to a place back of the beach where stones lay sparsely scattered on the dry sand and little bunches of beach grass and patches of Hudsonia were growing. Here the male stopped at a spot between two stones, lowered his breast to the round and kicked out alternately with his legs scratching the sand from beneath him. Then moving off a little way he did the same Ia another spot while the female came to the place between the stones and contInued the hollowing process which he had begun. Nearly, if not quite, In time with their rapidly moving legs, the birds uttered a series of short, high-pitched whistles, all on the same note, having the piping quality of their common call. When the scratching stopped, the notes stopped.

During perhaps a quarter of an hour the birds continued to scratch and pipe until several little hollows had been hegun and abandoned. The female, however, scratched for the most part In the hollow between the stones, digging It out to a depth of an Inch. Soon this phase of activity passed off and the birds began to feed.

During the hour the birds were under observation neither one made Its bobbing motion.

Eggs: [Ana’non’s NOTE: Four eggs are the almost invariable rule with the piping plover; rarely only three are laid in second sets, and I have found one set of five. They are ovate to short ovate in shape and have no gloss. The ground colors vary from “light buff” to “cartridge buff” or huffy white. They are sparingly, but quite evenly, marked with small spots, or fine dots, of blackish brown or black, and sometimes with a few underlying spots of “pallid purplish gray.” They are almost invisible on the sand or among small pebbles. The measurements of 71 eggs average 31.4 by 24.2 millimeters; the eggs showing the four extremes measure 34.4 by 25.3, 31.8 by 28.4, 29.2 by 23.8 and 30 by 23 millimeters.]

Young: Gayle Pickwell (1925) describes in detail the hatching of an egg and ascertained that the young birds may leave the nest a few hours later. He says: “It soon refu~ed to remain in the nest. Finally, it left, and while it was tottering insecurely away the parent bird came running up with little chuckles of solicitude.”

Alexander G. Lawrence, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, says in his notes:

Careful search of the sand spit revealed a number of small white moving points, which later search proved to be baby piping plovers. While I was chasing one it tripped, fell on its back, and lay as if stunned, deceiving me so completely that I turned to get my camera to make a close-up picture of the little fellow. No sooner had I moved away than he sprang up and ran pell. mell over the sand, and the chase commenced again.

C. A. Robbins (1919) describes further the behavior of the young birds thus:

Of course it frequently happens that there is no time for concealment. Then the young birds attempt to escape by running, the tiny legs working with surprising rapidity and carrying them over the ground so swiftly and smoothly that they looked like halls of down blowing before the wind. Also, if their escape up the beach Is cut off and they continue to be closely pressed, they do not hesitate to take to the water. Even those only a few hours out of the shell swim well and navigate their frail craft, if not with intelligence, at least in a direction away from the source of danger.

Plumages: [Author’s NOTE: The downy young piping plover is sand colored above. The crown, back, wings, rump, and thighs are variegated with “cream buff,” “cartridge buff,” and grayish white, sprinkled or peppered with browns; on the wings the color deepens almost to “chamois.” The forehead is buffy white; there is a more or less distinct V-shaped mark of dark brown in the center of the crown and a circle of small brownish tips around the edge of it. The wings and thighs are marked with brown spots. A white collar encircles the hind neck, and the entire under parts are white. The juvenal plumage appears first on the scapulars and sides of the breast, then on the remaining underparts, back, and crown; the last parts to become feathered are the throat, belly, and rump; then the wing quills appear, and lastly the tail. In fresh juvenal plumage the leathers of the crown and mantle are ” drab gray ” or ” smoke gray,~~ broadly tipped with “pinkish buff,” giving a decidedly pinkish tone at first; but these pink tips soon fade and wear away, leaving a dull-gray crown and mantle, faintly mottled with pale tints of buffy and dusky. The black bands on the forehead and neck are entirely lacking.

The first winter plumage is acquired by a limited body molt early in the fall and by wear and fading of much of the plumage that is retained. It is like the adult winter except for the worn and faded edgings on what juvenal feathers are retained, mainly wing c.overts and scapulars. A partial prenuptial molt early in the spring produces a nuptial plumage which is practically adult.

Adults have a complete molt in late summer and fall: August to October: and a partial prenuptial molt in late winter and spring, mainly in March. In winter plumage the crown and mantle are “pale ecru drab,” without the pale edgings, with no black frontal band, and with a restricted brownish instead of black collar. The black frontal band and the black collar, characteristic of the nuptial plumage, are usually acquired in March; the extent of the black collar increases with age and the complete collar probably indicates an old bird.]

Food: Arthur H. Howell (1924) says: “The food of this plover, as indicated by the contents of four stomachs secured in Alabama, consists principally of marine worms, fly larvae, and beetles.” E. H. Forbush (1925) lists the following: “Insects, crustaceans, mollusks, and other small marine animals and their eggs.”

The feeding habits of the piping plover as it hunts for food along our beaches are characteristic. In marked contrast to the nervous haste of the sanderling and the rapid darting about with lightninglike thrusts of the bill of the smallest sandpipers, the behavior of the plover is leisurely, and as they pick up food from the sand the movements of the head are deliberate. Three or four may sweep down the beach together, close to the sand, but when they alight, after a moment of stillness, they separate, each bird running a little way, isolating itself from its companions (another point of difference from the sanderling, etc., which in migration tend to keep close in a flock while feeding). Generally they begin at once to hunt for food. They run a short distance, then pause and stare at the sand with neck a little outstretched, head tilted a bit to one side, perhaps looking for a movement to show where food is, for often, leaning farther forward, they pick something from the sand. As they run over th? beach: a run and a pause, another run and another scrutinizing pause, often changing direction to catch up a bit of food: the birds suggest very strongly a robin feeding on a lawn and the resemblance is strengthened when the plover seizes a 3-inch-long worm and drags it from beneath the sand, pulling slowly and carefully lest it break, and swallows it whole.

Behavior: Their actions while feeding are apparently identical with those of the semipalmated plover, and the flight of the two birds is similar if not exactly the same. Their flight is wilder than that of the sanderling, for example, which drives steadily along; they twist and turn more often and tilt from one side to the other, giving the impression of extreme swiftness and agility.

Descriptions of the action of the sitting bird when disturbed differ very little. The bird is invariably wary and steals off before the intruder comes near, leaving him in doubt as to the existence of a nest. After the eggs are hatched, however, their actions change completely, and the parents display the utmost concern for the safety of their young. In the following quotation from his notes, E. H. Forbush describes graphically this behavior, and also shows that even in the early days of the young bird’s life the parents do not feed them. Mr. Forbush says:

A colony of piping plovers on the same beach had been much reduced In numbers, but the behavior of one pair showed that they had young on the beach. We sexy one plover and then another fluttering along the ground like young or crippled birds. Their actions might deceive a novice, but by watching them with a glass, we soon saw that they were adult birds. They threw themselves on the ground, breast downward, and, drooping the flight feathers or primaries, raised and agitated the shorter secondaries, until the motion resembled the fluttering pinions of young or wounded birds, meauttine pushing themselves along over the sand with their feet. As the wings were not spread, the long primary quills were not noticeable, and so the imitation of the struggles of a helpless bird was almost perfect. Immediately we began a careful search for the nest, looking in all the usual hiding places in or under the tufts of beach grass, but no nest could we find. As the old birds continued their plaintive cries and circled about, we extended our search, expecting to find some half-grown young flattened out somewhere on the beach. Finally, by hunting over the sand we found on the open beach, a nest exactly like that of the least tern. A few little pebbles had been grouped in a slight hollow, and there, partly beside and partly on the pebbles, lay three lovely little downy chicks and one egg. We attempted to photograph the parents, but they would not come to the young; and, as the little ones had already begun to run, about, we sunk an old barrel in the beach, and put them and the egg in it, that we might know where to find them on the morrow.

The day was foggy and cold, and during the night a thunderstorm drenched the earth; but the next morning the egg had disappeared, and four lively youngsters were running around in our barrel. They were now so active, that if one were liberated it would be rather difficult to catch It, while if hidden, It would be almost impossible to find it.

We kept them there two days, until we made sure that the parents never fed them. They brooded them quite constantly, but brought no food whatever, and we made certain that the young were able and willing to find their own food within 24 hours after they were out of the shell. It was seen that unless Ihey were liberated from the barrel they would soon starve to death.

C. A. Robbins (1919) in a study of a colony of piping plovers breeding in Massachusetts lays stress on the communal feeling that he noted in the birds. He says that the feeling: manifests itself in a marked degree; as when, at a threat of danger, more than two adults join in driving a single brood up the beach and into the safety which the concealing color of the dry sand furnishes.

It is shown again by the number of old birds that attempt to distract attention from the same brood or even from a detached individual by feigning; creeping off with wings outstretched and fluttering, tail fanned and dragging or, if the need requires more extreme measures, collapsing utterly a short distance away as if completely exhausted.

Voice: The piping plover’s home is blue and gray and white; on one side is the long line of the horizon over a large lake or the sea, on the other the long line of the sand hills. It is a land the same the world over, wherever the sea meets the white, shifting sand. The sea slides back and forth over the hard smooth wet shining beach; above the reach of the tide is the dry, pale gray, pebbly upper beach with here and there a few strands of beach grass growing in it, and higher up are the dunes which mark on the land side the boundary of the plover’s home.

Walk along the water’s edge and, although the sea may be pounding on the shore and a northerly gale howling about our ears, we shall hear the plover’s voice; a soft musical moan, we can not tell from where, but clear and distinct above the sound of waves and wind. The note has a ventriloquial quality and it is often our first intimation thht a piping plover is near, for the soft gray of the bird’s plumage matches the sandy background, whereas the note is pervasive and attracts our attention by its strangeness.

Aretas A. Saunders sends me the following summary of this plover’s notes. He says:

The commonest call I have noted is the one rendered in the books as pecp-lo. it is lower pitched than most of the shore-bird voices, a clear melodious whistle, and generally rendered peep peep peeplo. The peep is usually a tone or a tone and a half higher pitched than the 10 and I have one record where it is three tones and a half higher. I have one or two records where the second note slurs upward, the effect like peep-bay and suggesting the pecawee of the wood pewee. Another sort of note I have several records of I do not find described in books. This is a series of short sweet notes, more rapid than the others, nine or ten notes in a series. They are either all on the same pitch, or grading slightly downward in pitch toward the end, and they are sometimes followed by the peep-ic notes, at least in flight.

J. T. Nichols says in his notes:

When nesting the piping plover is rather noisy. The thought of its plaintive, rather mellow whistled notes, queep, qucep, queepio, etc., which perhaps have an analogy with song, takes me hack to the sand dunes of Cape Cod standing in the dazzling sunshine, where I first hecame familiar with this species a number of years ago. At other times of year piping plover are rather silent. Their whistled flight note ltee-ftu, with falling inflection at the end, is not loud or striking, and suggests that of the semipalmated plover, reversed.

Gayle Pickwell (192’S) in a study of the breeding habits “on a strip of sandy beach at Capital Lake near Lincoln” [Nebraska] says:

The most interesting thing about the piping plovers was their activities when one was near the nest. As an observer approached the nest he would be met by one of the plovers dropping down out of nowhere, uttering its sharp keewee, kee-wee and striving its utmost to lend one away. It would then run briskly across the sand and disappear suddenly from sight when It stopped to crouch down and utter its long-drawn whooaeh, whoceak.

The variety of their cries and calls was amazing.

At almost any period, while we were in the neighborhood, one of the birds could he observed flying here and there with slow, wide xving heats, uttering a rapid kuk, ku/c, ku/c, ku/c. It would shortly alight and wind It up with a longdrawn, weird whooaah. w/woaah. that seemed to come from nowhere in particular. The distress cries while one was near the nest were confined chiefly to a sharp kee-ak, kee-ak. The reason for their name of “piping” became very apparent at such times.

The ku/c mentioned by Mr. Pickwell is seemingly analogous to a common note which the semipalmated plovers use as they carry on their harmless running flights along the beach: a sort of rattling cackle of short notes somewhat suggesting the call of the red crossbill. These utterances are evidently expressions of a heightening in the emotional state of these closely related plovers.

John A. Farley (1919) describes a mating song accompanying courting activities. lie says:

I noticed a group of three, two of which chased each other around just like two robins fighting over a female. Some flew around rather low over the beach (some of them rather close to me), in apparent sexual excitement, and uttered notes while on the wing. These were different from the usual mellow, rather low notes which the birds were uttering more or less all the time while on the sand. Their notes on the wing were higher in tone and rather long drawn out, and mixed in with them were some little chuckles. The whole might be described as some sort of a mating song.

Field marks: J. T. Nichols says in substance in his notes that the bird may be recognized by its exceedingly pale colors which nearly match the dry sand of the beach above high-water mark. The white in the wing shows so little contrast to the general tone of the plumage that, although in flight a pattern on the wing is visible, it is very faintly indicated. A flying sanderling sometimes appears to be about the same coior, but bas bolder wing pattern than the plover.

The bobbing motion characteristic of several of the plovers is a common habit of the piping plover. This is a single hitching motion by which the body is tilted up and down on the legs as a fulcrum. It is apparently identical with the bob of the semipalmated plover and is made frequently as the birds stand about on the beach.

Enemies: The piping plover is shielded from its enemies by remarkable protective coloration which renders the bird nearly invisible as it stands motionless on the gray sand, especially when among scattered stones. The eggs, the young, and the adult bird are alike protected, so now that man is no longer its deadly enemy there is little to check the species from repopulating its breeding haunts in its former numbers.

E. Beaupre speaks in his notes of a local condition in eastern Ontario. He says: “Owing to the destructive work of crows [in eating the plover’s eggs] some are obliged to lay a second clutch, and this no doubt accounts for some of the nests containing fresh eggs in June.”

Fall: The piping plover moves southward soon after its nesting activities are over, following the habit of its relatives, the Limicolae which breed during the short summer about the Arctic Circle. Early departure from its nesting ground is not imperative in the ca~se of this southerly breeding bird, but the habit is undoubtedly of long standing and dates back to the time when the species bred close to the edge of the glacial ice field and summer passed quickly.

Winter: W. E. D. Scott (1892), speaking of the bird in Jamaica on its winter quarters, says: “In October, 1887, piping plover were abundant among the lagoons and mangrove swamps at the Palisades; they moved about in large flocks which, when once alighted on the shell-bestrewn beaches, it was impossible to detect”

We leave the little plover covered by the helmet of invisibility.

Range: Eastern North America and the West Indies.

Breeding range: The breeding range of the piping plover extends north to Saskatchewan (Big Stick Lake and Quill Lake); Manitoba (Birch Island in Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg); Michigan (Big Beaver Island and Charity Island); Ontario (Toronto and Brighton); Quebec (probably Natashquan); and probably Newfoundland (Stephenville Crossing, St. George Bay). East to probably Newfoundland (Stephenville); the Magdalen Islands; Prince Edward Island (North River); Nova Scotia (Sable Island and Yarmouth); Massacbusetts (Ipswich, Monomoy Island, and Marthas Vineyard); New York (Gardiners Island and Shelter Island); New Jersey (Barnegat Inlet, Beach Haven, Sea Isle City, and probably Cape May); Maryland (probably Ocean City); Virginia (Chincoteague Island, Cobb Island, and Cape Charles); and North Carolina (Pea Island and Beaufort). South to North Carolina (Beaufort); northern Pennsylvania (Erie); northern Ohio (Painesyule, Cleveland, Oberlin, and Sandusky); northern Indiana (Millers); northern Illinois (Waukegan); southern Wisconsin (Milwauke~ and Lake Koshkonong); and Nebraska (Lincoln, Dannebrog, and Doss). West to Nebraska (Goss); South Dakota (Miner County); North Dakota (Stump Lake, Minnewauken, and Kenmare); and southern Saskatchewan (Big Stick Lake).

There are many gaps in the range above outlined and the species also has been extirpated from parts of its breeding grounds.

Winter range: Almost entirely the South Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States. North to southern Texas (Padre Island, Aransas River and High Island); Louisiana (Vermilion Bay); Alabama (Peti.t Bois Island and Dauphin Island); and Ge’rgia (Savannah). East to Georgia (Savannah and Darien); eastern Florida (Amelia Island, Mayport, St. Augustine, Sebastian, and Miami); probably the Bahama Islands (Eleuthera and Great Inagua); and probably rarely Porto Rico. South to probably rarely Port Rico; Cuba (Matanzas and Habana); southern and western Florida (Cape Sable, Key Wes.t, Sanibel Island, Fort Myers; mouth of the Withlacoochee River, and probably Pensacola); and southern Texas (Padre Island). West to southern Texas (Padre Island). The species has been detected in winter occasionally in Bermuda.

Spring Migration: Early dates of spring arrival are: South Carolina, Frogmore, March 20; North Carolina, Pea Island, April 7; District of Columbia, Washington, March 25; Pennsylvania, Erie, April 16; New York, Shinnecock, March 24, Montauk Point, April 1, and Gardiners Island, April 7; Rhode Island, Newport, March 24; Massachusetts, Marthas Vineyard, March 18, Dennis, March 24, and Nantucket, March 26; Nova Scotia, April 24; Illinois, Colona, April 9, and Dc Kalb, April 18; Indiana, Waterloo, April 14, and Frankfort, April 15; Ohio, Lakeside, April 7, and Oberlin, April 15; Michigan, Port Sanilac, April 15, Ottawa Beach, April 23, and Detroit, April26; Ontario, Point Pelee, April 10, Listowel, May 1, and Toronto, May 8; Iowa, German Center, April 10; Wisconsin, Whitewater, April 29, and Elkhorn, May 13; Minnesota, Waseca, May 11, and Heron Lake, May 11; Kansas, Lawrence, April 27, McPherson, May 3, and Topeka, May 7; Nebraska, Lincoln, April 26, Gibbon, May 4, Nebraska City, May 8, and Doss, May 11; South Dakota, Sioux Falls, May 5, and Vermilion, May 8; North Dakota, Harrisburg, May 23, and St. Thomas, May 29; Manitoba, Shoal Lake, May 15, and Kularney, May 25; and Saskatchewan, Indian Head, May 14, Qu’Appelle, May 23, and Lake Johnston, May 23.

Late dates of spring departure are: Florida, Amelia Island, April 20, Daytona Beach, May 1, and Peninsula Point, May 11; and South Carolina, Sullivans Island, May 11, and Mount Pleasant, May 18.

Fall migration: : Early dates of arrival in the fall are: Texas, Rockport, August 12, and St. Joseph Island, August 14; Mississippi, Bay St. Louis, August 29; South Carolina, Mount Pleasant, August 2; Florida, New Smyrna, July 15, Fernandina, August 3, and Daytona, August 10; and Alabama, Dauphin Island, August 16.

Late dates of fall departure are: Manitoba, Shoal Lake, September 7; South Dakota, Forestburg, September 24; Nebraska, Bellwood, September 19, and Doss, September 24; Iowa, Grinnell, October 28; Ontario, Point Pelee, September 22, Michigan, Newbury, September 18; Ohio, Cleveland, September 24, Painesville, September 26, and Port Clinton, September 28; Indiana, La Fayette, September 18; Prince Edward Island, North River, October 20; Nova Scotia, Pictou, October 8; Vermont, Bennington, October 2; Massachusetts, Lynn, October 3, Dennis, October 12, and Boston, October 26; Rhode Island, Block Island, October 24; New York, Fair Haven Light, September 28, and Long Beach, November 7 (exceptionally late date); New Jersey, Cape May, September 13; and Pennsylvania, Erie, September 26.

Casual records: The piping plover has been detected outside of its regular range on very few occasions. A specimen in the British Museum from the Lake of the Woods, Ontario, may indicate breeding in that locality. One was obtained at Cheyenne, Wyo., on May 30, 1892.

Egg dates: Quebec and New Brunswick: 55 records, June 1 to 29; 28 records, June 5 to 18. New England to New Jersey: 48 records, May 22 to June 29; 24 records, May 28 to June 23. Dakotas: 13 records, May 26 to July 1; 7 records, May 28 to June 6.

About the Author

Sam Crowe

Sam is the founder of He has been birding for over 30 years and has a world list of over 2000 species. He has served as treasurer of the Texas Ornithological Society, Sanctuary Chair of Dallas Audubon, Editor of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's "All About Birds" web site and as a contributing editor for Birding Business magazine. Many of his photographs and videos can be found on the site.

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