Endangered piping plovers spotted in Duluth

Published 9:47 am Monday, May 25, 2015

DULUTH — A conservationist group is encouraging the public to stay away from some areas of Duluth’s Park Point beach, after two endangered piping plovers were spotted there earlier this month.

The St. Louis River Alliance is hopeful the sighting means that the birds may decide to nest in the area for the first time in 30 years. The two birds were seen in the area on May. 5.

“When we see two of them on our beach here, it’s a pretty big deal, because generally we will see one for a couple of days, and then it will leave,” said Kris Eilers, of the St. Louis River Alliance.

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The piping plover is a small bird, about the size of a robin, with a black band on its forehead and an orange beak and legs. The birds nest on open beaches around the Great Lakes, but the development of shoreline has reduced their habitat.

In 1990, there were only 12 nesting pairs of piping plovers. That number is at 70 now — in Michigan, Wisconsin and Canada.