Contributed by Lauren Dinan, Nongame Bird Biologist
Spotted Again! Erwin, our famous Piping Plover, that is. As many of you know, Erwin was originally banded as a three-day old chick at a lakeshore housing development in Dodge County, Nebraska, in June 2011. Erwin has been observed numerous times in winter at Bunche Beach, near Fort Myers, Florida. Erwin has proven predictable, always returning to the same beach in Florida within the first two weeks of August and staying there throughout the winter. We received our first 2015 report of Erwin on January 30th which marked the 52nd time Erwin has been re-sighted since he was banded in 2011. Erwin was observed feeding along the shoreline with a green flagged plover originally banded at Fire Island National Seashore, New York, in the summer of 2014 by the Virginia Tech Shorebird Program. The wonderful photos below were taken by Peter Hawrylyshyn.
Erwin is now a little over 3½ years old. For a Piping Plover, this is about middle aged. After surviving the difficult first year of life most plovers often survive to be about 5 or 6 years of age. You never know, though, maybe Erwin will be one of few that reaches 8 to 10 years of age. For now we just get to enjoy the reports of Erwin that we receive and maybe we will see him return to the lower Platte River this summer.