• Charadrius melodus;
  • conservation;
  • North America;
  • piping plover;
  • populations;
  • winter distribution


Resightings of uniquely marked birds from 2001 to 2008 were used to determine winter distributions of 4 breeding populations of a species at risk, the piping plover (Charadrius melodus). Although considerable overlap exists, a distinct pattern in winter distributions was evident. Birds originating from eastern Canada wintered farthest north compared to other populations. Most individuals from the United States Great Lakes were found in South Carolina and Georgia in winter, whereas birds from eastern Canada were found primarily in North Carolina. Although the great majority of birds marked in Prairie Canada were observed wintering in Texas, particularly southern Texas, breeding plovers from the United States Great Plains were more widely distributed on the gulf coast from Florida to Texas. Very few large-scale movements of individuals in winter were reported either within or between years. This study highlights the significance of geographic regions for eastern Canada, the United States Great Lakes, the United States Great Plains, and Prairie Canada populations, and demonstrates relatively high winter site fidelity. This information will help focus conservation efforts for specific breeding populations during the winter. © 2011 The Wildlife Society.