Half a century ago, hundreds of pairs of piping plovers lived in the Great Lakes. But by the 1980s, they were on the verge of extinction and only a dozen pairs remained.
Over time, wildlife biologists have helped increase the population. But it’s still well below a stable number and each year there’s a new threat.
Piping plovers are small, stout white-gray birds. In the spring, they can be found nesting on the shores of the Great Lakes. Once a fixture on the lakes, the birds are now on the federal Endangered Species List.