Banding piping plovers in the Great Lakes: an evaluation and new insights

TitleBanding piping plovers in the Great Lakes: an evaluation and new insights
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsWemmer LChristine, Cuthbert FJean
EditorHiggins K.F, Brashier M.R, Kruse C.D
Book TitleProceedings, Piping Plovers and Least Terns of the Great Plains and nearby
PublisherSouth Dakota State University
CityBrookings, SD

We describe and evaluate methods used to capture and band piping plovers (in the endangered Great Lakes population and report new information obtained from banding efforts. We captured nesting adult plovers after the first week of incubation using fall or Potter's traps. We trapped plovers only during fair weather, limited capture attempts to 15 min and handling of birds to 10 min, and replaced plover eggs with replicas during trapping to prevent damage to eggs. Chicks were captured by hand, handled for a maximum of 10 min, and released together as a brood. Total interruption to incubation was 20-30 min, and methods compared favorably to those reported for snowy plovers (Charadrius alexandrinus). Trap type did not affect trapping efficiency. Injuries were rare, and impact on reproduction was not significant. The effect of banding on chick survival could not be determined. We recommend that banding programs for larger pouplations incorporate an experimental design to investigate the effects of banding on survival of plover chicks.