Piping Plover -Nebraska Plovers in Winter

As a species Piping Plovers spend the winter on beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, southern Atlantic Coast, and in the Bahamas. However, there is only limited information regarding what specific wintering areas are important to specific populations of Piping Plovers. Color banding has allowed us to track individual plovers that nest along the lower Platte River. This has helped us to gain a better understanding of where these lower Platte River birds are spending the winter.

Over 16% of the Piping Plovers banded along the lower Platte River have been re-sighted in their winter habitat. Piping Plovers nesting along the lower Platte River are widely distributed in their winter range from the southern tip of Texas to the Florida Keys and all the way up along the Atlantic Coast to South Carolina. We have not received any reports of lower Platte River plovers overwintering in the Bahamas. A majority (90%) of our winter resightings have occurred along the U.S. Gulf Coast. Only 10% of our winter resightings have occurred along the southern Atlantic Coast.

Nebraska Plover Migration Pattern

This map shows all the winter re-sightings of Piping Plovers that were originally banded along the lower Platte River. Each colored dot in Nebraska (shown in the inset) represents a specific breeding site where plovers have been banded. Each dot on the U.S. coast represents a different individual plover that was originally banded along the lower Platte River. The color of the dot on the U.S. coast represents the breeding site where that bird was banded.

Report Your Resighting: Please email Mark Vrtiska at ternsandplovers@unl.edu to report a sighting of a color banded plover and we will get back to you with information about that plover. All reports and photographs are greatly appreciated.

A large majority of our winter re-sighting reports come from local and visiting birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts. We have received reports and photographs from many people that have observed color banded plovers and are excited to find out the story behind that plover. A special thanks those that have sent reports and those that have allowed us to post their photographs on our website.


The Piping Plover pictured to the left was banded as a three day old chick on 16 June 2011 at a lake shore housing development near North Bend, Nebraska. He was last observed in Nebraska as a fledgling in July. The next time he was observed he was happily foraging along a beach near Fort Myers, Florida on 13 November 2011. He was reported at the same beach in Florida 15 times from November 2011 to April 2012. We did not observed him in Nebraska during the summer of 2012, but he was reported back at the same beach near Fort Myers, Florida in August 2012 and has been report 11 times during the 2012-2013 winter.

Piping Plover 5
Piping Plover 7
Piping Plover 1
Piping Plover 2
Piping Plover 3
Piping Plover 4