Overflowing Great Lakes pose new threat for endangered bird

Lake Huron seen from Ipperwash Beach near Sarnia Ontario Canada, Photo Date: May 2004 - Cropped Photo: Wikipedia / MGN
By  | 

GLEN HAVEN, Mich. (AP) -- Surging water levels are making matters worse for a Great Lakes shorebird that's already on the endangered list.

Piping plovers build nests and raise their young on beaches around the lakes. Coastline development has shrunk their habitat and caused their numbers to plummet. Officials say 67 pairs were counted last year.

As the lakes reach some of their highest levels on record, the plovers are being squeezed further. Scientists say it's forcing some to move closer to trees and shrubs, where they're more vulnerable to predators.

At Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan, officials have roped off piping plover nesting areas where waters are creeping closer. Signs urge people to steer clear.

The next few weeks will be crucial, as the plovers' eggs hatch.