This small shorebird is listed as endangered in the Great Lakes region and as threatened in the Atlantic Coast and Northern Great Plains populations. Its decline began when many bird species were collected and their feathers used as decorations for women’s hats, and after World War II, the population suffered as habitat was lost to beachfront development, shoreline stabilization, and human activity. The species received the protection of the Endangered Species Act in 1985.
“Overall, the U.S. population increased by nearly 300 percent since 1985 to an estimated 6,500 birds,” according to the American Bird Conservancy. “During that period, the Atlantic Coast population also increased 300 percent thanks to intensive management efforts, including restricted beach access during sensitive nesting periods and predator control. The Great Lakes population increased 390 percent, and the Great Plains population increased by 270 percent. The species also breeds in Canada.”
Michael Rossacci took the beautiful portrait above at Sandy Point State Reservation in Ipswich, Massachusetts.