Population Status

graph of breeding pair population 1984-2006

Historically, piping plovers nested throughout the Great Lakes, with an estimated population 500-800 pairs. By the mid-1980's the Great Lakes population had declined to 11-14 pairs, all within the state of Michigan. As of 2005, the population was estimated at approximately 60 nesting pairs. Although the breeding population tripled in the last 20 years, the Great Lakes piping plover is still extremely vulnerable to extinction from predation, demographic and environmental stochasticity, and continued beach development.