There are two recognized subspecies of the Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus): the Atlantic coast United States and Canada ('Atlantic') subspecies and the Great Lakes and Northern Great Plains ('Interior') subspecies. More than 7,000 Piping Plovers have been banded and monitored since 1982, yet no individual marked as a hatchling or breeding adult in the range of one subspecies has been reported breeding in the range of the other. Recent molecular genetic analyses further support subspecific taxonomic classification of Atlantic and Interior breeding populations. On 22 May 2011, a banded Piping Plover and unbanded mate were observed nesting on North Core Banks, Cape Lookout National Seashore, North Carolina, USA. The uniquely-banded adult was a female captured as a chick at Wasaga Beach, Georgian Bay, Ontario, Canada; the female nested unsuccessfully in its first breeding year at Tawas Point State Park, Michigan, USA and then successfully fledged two chicks in its second breeding year at North Core Banks, North Carolina, USA. The observation is the first confirmed record of a Piping Plover dispersing from its subspecies' range and successfully breeding in the range of the other subspecies.
- Charadrius melodus
- Piping Plover