Important Bird Areas

Cathead Bay beaches (Piping Plover)

Michigan

Beaches of northwestern Leelanau County lining Cathead Bay.

Ornithological Summary

The Leelanau Peninsula creates a natural concentration point for migratory passerines, hawks, waterbirds, and shorebirds in spring and fall. It is possible to observe 15 species of warblers in a single day in addition to many thrushes and sparrows.

Conservation Issues

Great Lakes Piping Plovers face many threats in the breeding areas limiting both survivorship of adults and young as well as fecundity, including:

1) Predation of adults and young by raptors (esp. Merlin), gulls, and mammals 2) Disturbance of incubation/trampling of eggs and nests by foot traffic and ORVs 3) Botulism poisoning of adults eating maggots from botulism-killed waterbirds washed up on beach

Cordoning off of the breeding territories and volunteer efforts of the Piping Plover patrol are now required long-term for the continued survival of this population. Avoiding burying botulism-killed waterbirds is necessary to prevent the occurrence of botulism infested maggots in the breeding areas.

Ownership

Almost evenly split between private ownership and Leelanau State Park (Michigan Department of Natural Resources).

Habitat

Pebbly Lake Michigan beachfront habitat.

Land Use

Beaches used primarily for human recreation, including vacation housing.