New York Natural Heritage Program
Piping Plover
Charadrius melodus Ord, 1824

New York State Distribution [-]
The historical range in New York includes two subspecies: Charadrius melodus melodus occupying Long Island and C. m. circumcinctus occupying the Great Lakes (McGowan and Corwin 2008). The Great Lakes population was largely extripated by 1955, with only one subsequent brood discovered during the first Breeding Bird Atlas in Oswego County in 1984 (Levine 1998). No Piping Plovers were found in the Great Lakes Region during the second Breeding Bird Atlas in 2000 to 2005 (McGowan and Corwin 2008). The Long Island population appears to have shifted its distribution slightly with more southern bayside beaches occupied during the first atlas and a slightly higher frequency of occupied blocks along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound and Peconic Bay in the second (McGowan and Corwin 2008). This shift likely reflects a combination of suvey effort in those areas as well as expansion of the species into new areas.

Global Distribution [-]
BREEDING: The breeding range extends from the northern Great Plains including southern Alberta, northern Saskatchewan, southern Manitoba, northwestern and (formerly) southwestern Ontario, south to eastern Montana, the Dakotas, southeastern Colorado (Andrews and Righter 1992). The range extends east barely into Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska; sporadic nesting occurs in Oklahoma; breeding birds are widely distributed in small populations (Haig 1992, Haig and Plissner 1993). Formerly Piping Plovers were found throughout much of the Great Lakes region, now locally only in northern Michigan (Haig 1992, Evers 1992). Great Lakes breeding populations have been largely extirpated in New York since 1955; with only one subsequent record in 1984 during the first Breeding Bird Atlas (McGowan and Corwin 2008). Atlantic coast populations span Newfoundland, southeastern Quebec, and New Brunswick to North Carolina (Haig 1992). Eighty-two percent of nesting pairs are found in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Virginia (USFWS 1992). See USFWS (1994) for further information on breeding distribution in particular states. NON-BREEDING: The complete winter distribution is not known. Birds have been reported wintering from North Carolina south to Florida, the Gulf coast states, Mexico, and the Caribbean. About 5 percent of the total North American breeding population and 14 percent of the entire Atlantic coast breeding population winters from North Carolina through Florida. Plovers wintering on the Atlantic coast occurred most frequently in Georgia and least frequently in Florida. Approximately 35 percent of the total breeding population winters along the gulf coast from Florida to Texas and represents 56 percent of the Great Lakes/Great Plains population. The species also occurs in small numbers in the Bahamas and Greater Antilles, and probably eastern Mexico. See Nicholls and Baldasarre (1990) and Haig and Plissner (1993) for further information on winter distribution in the southeastern U.S., including listings of important sites.
Best Places to See
• Breezy Point (Queens County)
• Fire Island (Suffolk County)
• Jones Beach (Nassau County)