Mass Audubon Herald’s Piping Plover Success

Piping plover chick. Courtesy Mass Audubon

Mass Audubon has announced that more piping plovers nested on the beaches of Massachusetts in 2023 than at any time in the 35-year history of the organization’s Coastal Waterbird Program.

When the program was launched in 1986, there were fewer than 200 breeding pairs of piping plovers in Massachusetts. In 2023, according to preliminary data from MassWildlife’s Endangered Species and Natural Heritage Program, approximately 1,145 pairs nested in Massachusetts—a more than 500% increase. Piping plovers remain a federally threatened species.

Last year also saw the plovers nest on beaches where they haven’t been seen in many years, including locations in Scituate, Cohasset, Chatham, and Gloucester, according to Mass Audubon.  

The Coastal Waterbird Program is credited with helping the state’s piping plover populations recover at a faster rate than those of most other states along the Atlantic Seaboard. As a result, approximately 50% of piping plovers on the Atlantic Coast now nest in Massachusetts.