This past weekend one of our partners, the Virginia Tech Shorebird Program (VTS), re-banded two hatch year Great Lakes piping plovers (GLPIPL). This means they caught two birds that were born in the Great Lakes region on the non-breeding grounds. VTS then replaced the chick combo bands the birds were wearing with unique adult combos. The banding specifically took place on Cumberland Island, Georgia, which has been a popular GLPIPL non-breeding site over the years.
One of the GLPIPL VTS caught hatched this summer in Grand Marais in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It was originally banded X,R:-,O (left to right, top to bottom on the bird’s legs this translates to numbered aluminum band, red and nothing, orange). The permanent adult combo this bird will now wear is X,b:Of,GO (numbered aluminum band, light blue and orange flag, green, orange).
The other GLPIPL rebanded is originally from Whitefish Point in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as well. It was originally banded X,B:O,B (numbered aluminum band, dark blue then orange, dark blue). The permanent adult combo that now uniquely identifies this bird is X,Y:Of,GL (numbered aluminum band, yellow then orange flag, dark green, black). Coincidentally this bird was the first chick at Whitefish Point that we banded this year.
These birds have already overcome incredible obstacles (surviving to fledging and making the first migration journey typically has a high mortality rate for any migratory bird). We’re excited to learn more about what these birds do this winter and where they end up returning to breed in the Great Lakes region next summer. Not to mention, we’re anxious for them to get their adult plumage next year so we can determine if they are male or female (piping plover males and females look to similar to be 100% certain with their juvenile and non-breeding plumage).