Piping Plovers belong to the family Charadriidae. The members of this family are generally small to mid-size shorebirds such as plovers, dotterels, and lapwings. Killdeer is the most recognizable member of this family in the Midwest. The piping plover is a small pale shorebird that migrates to warm weather coasts during the winter months. This makes Andros Island in the Bahamas an ideal location for these plovers to winter. It is believed that Andros Island receives one third of the wintering piping plovers from the Atlantic coast population. According to the Fish and Wildlife Service they are a threatened species and management applications have been implemented to protect the remaining 8,000 individuals in the wild. The Bahamas may not forever be a retreat for the plovers due to Australian pine(Casuarina equisetifolia) and white inkberry(Scaevola taccada). These invasive plant species have started to grow out of control in ideal piping plover habitat.
The purpose of this Ornithology course was to survey shorebirds with a focus on piping plovers for the National Audubon Society. A total of 278 observation people/hours were recorded and over 5,500 hectares at five sites were surveyed over the one week period from 12 January-18 January. Eleven species of shorebirds were documented and 700 individuals. A total of 28 piping plovers were observed, seven of which had been banded. The band codes included four bands on each bird that helped to determine their migration patterns. Hopefully with continued research and dedication from the Audubon Society and the Bahamas National Trust piping plovers will be able to use Andros Island for the foreseeable future.
Piping Plover, Atlantic Coast Population