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They grow up so quickly

Contributed by Nongame Bird Biologist Lauren Dinan

More on Piping Plovers! Last week I blogged about our Piping Plover banding program in which we work in cooperation with the Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln School of Natural Resources.  A great part of this banding program is being able to watch our birds as they grow from little fluffballs, to awkward teenagers, and to adults that travel across the United States.

Piping Plover Chick
A one-day-old Piping Plover chick getting weighed and banded.

The Piping Plover pictured above was banded as a one-day-old chick on 7 June 2013 at a lakeshore housing development near North Bend, Dodge County, Nebraska. This bird received a metal band on its upper left leg, yellow over green bands on its lower left leg, a light blue flag on it upper right leg, and black over red color bands on its lower right leg.  This plover was resighted as a 13-day-old chick on 19 June 2013, but we were unsure whether it successfully fledged, if it survived migration, and, if it did survive, where this plover is spending the winter.

Young Piping Plover
The same Piping Plover re-sighted two weeks later as a 13-day-old chick.

These questions were answered just a day ago when Danny Sauvageau, who you may recognize from last week’s post, photographed this plover on Caladesi Island near Tampa, Florida, approximately 1,300 miles away from its home in Nebraska.

Florida Piping Plover
Piping Plover observed and photographed by Danny Sauvageau at Caladesi Island, Florida.
Now the only question remaining is, where will this plover decide to nest and raise its family; will it feel a tug pulling it back to its home in Nebraska or with this plover venture off and choose to nest somewhere new?
Diagram showing the distance this plover traveled between June when it was banded in Nebraska and October when it was observed along the coast of Florida.

Thanks to Danny Sauvageau for permission to use his great photograph. For more information on the Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership and the work being done for Piping Plovers and Interior Least Terns nesting in Nebraska please visit their website at http://ternandplover.unl.edu/.

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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