Great Lakes Piping Plover Recovery Effort

A partnership to study and conserve this migratory shorebird's endangered population between UMN, USFWS, USGS, NPS, DNR, more & You!

“Old Man Plover” (BO:X,g) made it south!


BO:X,g - a male Great Lakes Piping Plover and currently the oldest living GLPIPL

BO:X,g – a male Great Lakes Piping Plover and currently the oldest living GLPIPL

The oldest plover in the Great Lakes population has returned to his South Carolina winter home. His mate from 2014 and 2015, Of,GL:X,Y,  was the subject of a previous post on May 22.

This fellow known as BO:X,g (for the pattern of band colors on his legs) in Michigan and Old Man Plover in South Carolina, hatched way back in 2002 at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. He has been nesting near his hatch site since 2005. He currently holds the record for the oldest male ever known in the Great Lakes population. Two females have tied with him at 14 years. In addition he also usually wins the race to return to his nesting territory, or ties with another male. In spring of 2016 he returned on April 13, as did “Packer Boy” who nests at Manistee, MI.

I feel quite attached to him. We’ve been part of the Great Lakes Piping Plover program for nearly the same length of time. (I started in 2004) The first nest I found in my first year of nest searching was his first nest. I’ve watched him successfully raise and fledge 36 chicks over the years…he seldom has lost any.

At the end of each summer he wings his way south to South Carolina where a different set of plover monitors wait for him. This fall was his 15th trip south! We don’t know exactly what route he takes, but if he flew directly from his summer territory at Sleeping Bear Dunes to his winter territory near Charleston, SC and back, he would have migrated 25,752 miles so far. (The circumference of the Earth is 24,901 miles)

I hope to see him back up at Sleeping Bear Dunes again next April.

David McLean in South Carolina has made a post about Old Man Plover’s return at


Written by:

Alice Van Zoeren – Summer Plover monitor, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore; University of Minnesota Non-breeding sightings coordinator for Great Lakes Piping Plovers


3 thoughts on ““Old Man Plover” (BO:X,g) made it south!

  1. Pingback: Blog Birding #296 – flybabiesaviary

  2. Pretty certain this bird is at Port Dover in Ontario right now. April 11 and 12, 2017. The colour bands (light green right, blue left) are the same and I’m pretty certain I could see the standard band on the upper right leg (above the ankle) though the belly feathers concealed it most of the time. The bird appeared to be favouring its right leg.


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