Piping Plovers (Charadrius melodus) undertake comparatively short migrations for a shorebird and were not previously thought to congregate in large numbers during migration. Superpopulation size (individuals occurring at the study site during the study period) and stopover duration were estimated for migratory Piping Plovers on South Point, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, USA, from 3 July–28 October 2016 by integrating a Jolly-Seber model and a binomial model of resighting and count data. We estimated 569 Piping Plovers (95% CI: 502–651) used South Point during fall migration in 2016, approximately 10% of the global population and approximately 15% of the Atlantic Coast population. Stopover duration differed between Piping Plovers that bred on or near our study site (Southern USA, 46 days, SD = 1.7) compared to individuals that bred in the northern area of the breeding range (Atlantic Canada, 41 days, SD = 2.0; New England States, USA, 44 days, SD = 1.8) and the central area of the breeding range (New York and New Jersey, USA, 26 days, SD = 1.4). South Point may be unique in that no other areas are known to host similar numbers of Piping Plovers during fall migration.
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Vol. 41 • No. 1