Piping plover chick on the shore.

Piping plover chick on the shore.

TOM PRESTBY/Contributed

HORICON — Tom Prestby of University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Cofrin Center for Biodiversity will present a program on the endangered piping plover at 7 p.m. Thursday in the lower level of the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center at N7725 Highway 28, during the Horicon Marsh Bird Club meeting.

Piping Plovers, a small shorebird that historically nested on beaches along the shores of the Great Lakes, was listed as endangered in 1986 when biologists estimated the species had less than 20 breeding pairs.

In 2016, piping plovers successfully nested on the newly restored Cat Island Chain and fledged three chicks — the first time to do so in more than 75 years. "Piping plovers have used the site increasingly since it was created, including multiple males throughout the summer of 2015 but they were unsuccessful attracting a mate. We knew breeding was likely if a female found them and we’re pleased that it happened," said Prestby. In 2017, four nesting pairs fledged six chicks.

In his talk, Prestby will discuss the habitat restoration that encouraged this little endangered bird to once again use the area to breed, as well as continuing efforts to help increase the breeding pairs of piping plovers in the Great Lakes region.

Prestby is a graduate student at UW-Green Bay, and has worked for the Wisconsin DNR on various bird conservation projects including breeding bird surveys, marshbird surveys, spruce grouse trapping and telemetry, and grassland bird nest searching. He has worked alongside United States Fish & Wildlife Service researchers and nonprofit organizations in monitoring piping plovers in the Green Bay area.

Membership in the bird club is not necessary to attend this free program. All ages are welcome. For more information, visit horiconmarshbirdclub.com or call 920-387-7893.