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Nebraska Plover In Mexico

Lauren DinanContributed by Lauren Dinan, Nongame Bird Biologist

After banding Piping Plovers along the Lower Platte River in eastern Nebraska for the last 10 years, and banding a total of 809 plovers, we just received our first report of one of our Piping Plovers in Mexico! Over the years, 98 plovers originally banded along the Lower Platte River in eastern Nebraska have been re-sighted in their winter range during the non-breeding season. However, all of these re-sightings have been in the United States along the Gulf of Mexico from Texas to Florida and along the southern Atlantic coast from Florida to South Carolina.

Piping Plover photographed by Eduardo Pacheco in Mexico on 17 December 2017.

On 17 December, 2017 one of our plovers (pictured above), sporting a light blue flag on its upper left leg, green over yellow color bands on its lower left leg, a uniquely numbered metal USGS band on its upper right leg and gray over green color bands on its lower right leg, was re-sighted and photographed by Eduardo Pacheco at Isla Holbox, Quintana Roo state – north of Cancun, Mexico. This plover was banded on 26 June 2017 as a 1-day old chick at a sandpit lake near Ashland, Saunders County, Nebraska. This plover was last observed in Nebraska on 19 July 2017 as a 23-day old, nearly fledged chick.

Map showing the location where this plover was banded on 26 June 2017 in eastern Nebraska (yellow dot) and the location this plover was re-sighted on 17 December 2017 in Mexico (red dot).

It is pretty amazing that at only 6 months old this plover was able to fly over 1,500 mile and cross the Gulf of Mexico to spend the winter along the southern tip of Mexico!

Thanks to Eduardo Pacheco, Barbara MacKinnon de Montes, and Cheri Gratto-Trevor for providing us with this re-sighting information.

About Joel Jorgensen

Joel Jorgensen is a Nebraska native and he has been interested in birds just about as long as he has been breathing. He has been NGPC’s Nongame Bird Program Manager for eight years and he works on a array of monitoring, research, regulatory and conservation issues. Nongame birds are the 400 or so species that are not hunted and include the Whooping Crane, Least Tern, Piping Plover, Bald Eagle, and Peregrine Falcon. When not working, he enjoys birding.

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