Piping Plovers - 2017 Updates

Spring 2017

Adult Plover Brooding Chicks

© Neal Mutiger


We look forward to the arrival of the plovers from their wintering grounds.  Updates will be provided regularly.

April 2017

© Neal Mutiger

The start of the 2017 Piping Plover season has been a little damp, but that hasn't stopped our feathered friends from some frisky behaviour.  We currently have three pairs of plovers, which brings our season total to 10 birds (currently 6 are at Wasaga Beach).  Many people have observed the plovers mating but we are yet to have an egg. Stay tuned!

May 2017

© Neal Mutiger

We are excited to share that we currently have three pairs of nesting plovers for the 2017 season.   Our first pair, which was nesting pair #4 last summer, lost some of their early eggs due to a predator.  Crows were seen being active in the vicinity of the nest.  The pair have relocated and a mini exclosure has been put over the nest of three eggs to limit futher potential predator impacts.  A second pair, nest #2 from last season, has located their nest not far from the shoreline.  The third pair, nest#1 from 2016, is located near the boardwalk.  The second and third pairs have four eggs each.  Two single female plovers are also in the area.

Our volunteers are on site to answer questions about the nesting birds.  If interested in volunteering, please contact wasagaplover@gmail.com  

June 2017

© Neal Mutiger

It has been a month of excitement in Ploverland.  On June 15 the four chicks from Nest 3 sucessfully hatched.  By Saturday the chicks had moved passed the boardwalk to feed closer to the shoreline. Unfortunately during the first weekend of June the female from Nest 2 disappeared.  It is assumed that she was predated upon as several birds of prey, including a merlin, have been seen in the area.  The male abandoned the nest shorly after the female's disappearance.  The eggs cannot be salvaged.  The lost female hatched at Wasaga Beach in 2012 and reared 10 chicks at Wasaga Beach between 2013 and 2015.  She has mated with the 'Green Bandit' since 2014. We now eagerly await the hatching of the chicks from Nest 1, which is expected to occur during this upcoming week.

June 30, 2017

© Neal Mutiger

On June 20th the first chick from Nest 4 hatched, with the second (and final) hatching on June 22nd.   Unfortunately both chicks from that nest have not survived.  The final chick was witnessed being predated upon by a merlin on June 26th.  Merlin are a natural predator of pipling plover and their attacks are quick.  During banding earlier that day, this chick was weighed in at 6.5grams.  As of today, there is a total of three plover chicks at Wasaga Beach.  

Every year brings different successes and challenges to the piping plover recovery program at Wasaga Beach. The summer of 2016 was unique in its grand success of 14 fledged chicks.  The current survival to date of three chicks is still a great accomplishment this year as it was only 10 years ago that the Great Lakes piping plover population was extirpated from (or no longer found in) Canada as a breeding species.  Focusing on successes, this year there have been 7 nests in Ontario, which include:

North Beach (1)

Darlington (1)

Sauble Beach (3)

Limestone Nature Reserve (1)

Wasaga Beach (1) 


Early July

We have lost two chicks from Nest 3 to what is likely a merlin.  As a result, we are down to one chick remaining from Nest 3.  With the rain keeping people away this season, we have experienced significantly less issues with gulls but people are repeatedly witnessing a merlin hunting actively in and around Ploverland.  Regardless, we are going to keep moving forward with our heads held high as we celebrate 10 fantastic (yes, fantastic!) years of Piping Plovers at Wasaga Beach.   

Late July

Our final chick has fully develped its adult feathers and fledged.  He has been observed along New Wasaga beach this past week.  He will be also exploring other beaches and will soon migrate south for the winter.  

While our numbers are down this year, our volunteer program has helped to 'raise' 54 fledglings since the program began 10 years ago.  Our birds are also establishing new nesting sites across Ontario, which is a great way to look at the success of the program.

Thank you to everyone who volunteered their time this summer to help make this program possible (bumps and all)!  We look forward to seeing you and the plovers again in 2018.  

Contact Us

For more information about Piping Plovers or to volunteer as a Plover Guardian, contact wasagaplover@gmail.com

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