Published on December 19, 2022

2022 Piping Plover Summary

Piping plover standing on a rocky beach

The Piping Plovers of the South East persevered despite the challenges of 2022, including a stormy May and an exceedingly hot July. Our SE-based Coastal Waterbird Team monitored the efforts of 73 pairs of Piping Plovers at 17 beaches on the South Coast and South Shore. While only a quarter of these pairs were successful, a total of 55 fledglings joined the growing population of Piping Plovers in Massachusetts. Our state is the single bright light of recovery, whereas numbers are declining or hovering at low numbers elsewhere across the Atlantic Coast breeding range. The southeast beaches monitored by our team saw an 18% increase in the number of pairs between 2021 and 2022. The world’s population of this subspecies now numbers approximately 4000, and half of these nest in Massachusetts. The most exciting news is that on a tiny urban beach along the South Coast, and for perhaps the first time in living memory, a Piping Plover pair was successful at raising a chick to fledge. These plucky residents of our sandy shores CAN live among us and thrive if we give them the opportunity to do so. We hope to see more pairs re-colonizing more beaches in the years to come and delighting beachgoers with their determination!