Piping plovers

Piping plovers

Piping plover

Last image of Kickapoo (credit Vince Capozziello)

Q. Hi, Chip: Federally-endangered piping plovers nested for the first time in 83 years in Ohio this past summer on Maumee Bay State Park’s inland beach.  I thought you might like to notify your readers.  Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) in northwest Ohio monitored the nest site, and here is the link to their initial story: https://www.bsbo.org/.

Peggy Lewis, Holmes-Wayne Electric Cooperative

A. Hi, Peggy: Yes, nesting of the endangered piping plovers was big wildlife news this past summer for Ohio and Ohioans; thanks for reminding me of it! I have pasted the first two paragraphs of the BSBO story below, followed by an update on the nesting.     

“On May 25th, 2021, local birders Warren and Karen Leow reported Piping Plovers on the lakefront beach at Maumee Bay State Park.  A rare migrant through Ohio, these Piping Plovers lingered.  All three are banded and color-marked, so we were able to determine that there was one male, hatched on Montrose Beach in Chicago, Illinois, and two females, hatched in Presque Isle Pennsylvania.  All three were hatched in 2020. 

“Two of the birds began to exhibit courtship behavior, something the birds don’t do in migration.  As soon as breeding behavior was documented, we knew we had the potential for a nest, and the Black Swamp Bird Observatory team sprang into action!  Calls were made to state and federal wildlife agencies, state park officials, and wildlife law enforcement.”

The mated pair — named Nellie and Nish by volunteers who monitored the nest 24/7 — hatched a brood of four young (dubbed Erie, Ottawa, Maumee, and Kickapoo), three of which have survived as of this writing. Kickapoo is believed to have succumbed to a predatory attack by a mink. The remaining members of the shorebird family have since migrated south, and will likely winter along the southern Atlantic or Gulf coasts. The hope is that they and other piping plovers will return to Ohio to nest again next spring!