Plenty of piping plover nests popping up in the Great Lakes; near Sleeping Bear Dunes

WELLS, ME - MAY 23: A piping plover forages on Wells Beach on Saturday. There are a record number of the endangered shorebirds nesting in Maine this year. Wells Beach has nine nests, with seven of those active. The Wells jetty path to the beach is cl

Michigan's first sightings of this season's Great Lakes piping plovers were spotted over the weekend at Sleeping Bear Dunes.

The first nest was declared to be a tie between two pairs who nested together, said the Great Lakes Piping Plover Recovery Effort.

"Both pairs are experienced parents who nested successfully together in 2021 at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore," said Chelsea Loomis, a monitor at Sleeping Bear Dunes.

As of Thursday, the organization is aware of 31 potential piping plover pairs in the Great Lakes.

"Monitors have observed them defending territories, creating nest scrapes, and displaying courtship behaviors," the organization said.

Out of those 31 pairs, nine of them have at least one egg with more on the way. Seven nests are located in Michigan and two are in New York.

Piping plovers are considered to be federally endangered since 1986. Conservation efforts have been in place to hopefully increase their population.

According to the Great Lakes Piping Plover Recovery Effort, there are around 65-70 nesting pairs in the Great Lakes.

To learn more about Great Lakes piping plover conservation efforts, you can visit the Great Lakes Piping Plover Recovery Effort website at