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Piping plovers return to Wasaga Beach Provincial Park

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For over 30 years, there were no breeding piping plovers in Ontario, but fortunately, that eventually changed, and nests can even be found in Simcoe County.

"This actually marks the 17th year that piping plovers have been back at Wasaga Beach Provincial Park," said Sydney Shepherd, a representative from Birds Canada.

All piping plovers born in the Great Lakes population are banded to learn more about their life history, migration, and other identifying information so the Birds Canada team can track their return and remind the public of the species' special status.

A piping plover is spotted at Wasaga Beach Provincial Park. (CTV News)

"Piping plovers are a very vulnerable species," Shepherd explained. "This year in Ontario, we only have about eight breeding individuals. There's potential we might have two more that breed as well, but that's still a very low number. Across the entire population, that's only 200. So we really do need to put our best effort forward to support these birds."

Shepherd urges those visiting the beachfront town to stay outside the fenced area.

"Make sure that you're cleaning up after yourself, not bringing any extra garbage and food to the beach so that it attracts predators such as gulls, foxes or skunks, and giving the birds lots of space," she added.

Along with bird watching, there's a chance for the public to get involved in a unique way. Three of the female birds in Ontario still need to be named. Suggestions can be made online.

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