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  • Merri-Lee M.

5. Birds and Bands at Sauble Beach

As of today, there are 7 Piping Plovers on the beach at Sauble. It has been a challenge to identify our Plovers by the little coloured and silver bands on the birds' legs. I have included photos and descriptions of each of the 7 birds on the beach with their bands. Some of the bands are harder to read than others because of the mist on the beach..... but hopefully the photos, along with charts created by volunteers, will aid in identifying pairs of birds and single birds, and will also enable us to quickly identify new birds that arrive on the beach.


Bands on the Plovers are read in the following order:

-top band on the bird's left leg

-bottom band on left leg

-top band on right leg

-bottom band on right leg

X represents a silver band, and there is sometimes a number

on the silver band that is recorded as well. Canadian birds are

banded with the X band on the left leg, and birds from the States

have an X band on the right leg.

Colours are recorded as a letter.

(e.g. "R" for "Red", "B" for "Blue", small "b" for light blue)


This 2015 chick's bands would be read as: X (top left -silver band),

B (bottom left -blue):

O (top right- orange),

B/O/B (bottom right- blue, orange, blue)

This band sequence would be recorded as X , B : O , B/O/B.


I have started at the north end of the beach with Port Boy (Male 4 -- fourth male to arrive on the beach). He hatched at Sauble in 2013, successfully raised 4 chicks in 2014 on Port Elgin Beach, and spent 2015 on the beaches of Port Elgin and Sauble trying unsuccessfully to find a mate. This year he has been able to attract 2 different females, but each one has moved on after a day or two.

Port Boy's bands are read as: X, B/O/B : O, --. There is a split in the orange part of the B/O/B band.

This is Port Boy in 2014 when he was on Port Elgin Beach. Notice the numbers on the silver band. (See Gallery for a better view.)

Port Boy spent a day with this little female, but she has not been seen since she left on May 6. It would be wonderful to know that she is somewhere else laying eggs....

She is F3, and her bands are: X, G : Of, b, Y.


As we move south along the beach, we see an exclosure and roped-off area where Male 1 and Female 1 have at least 3 eggs in a scrape. The first egg was laid on May 20.

Male 1 hatched at Wasaga Beach in 2012, and nested at Sauble in 2015. Only 1 chick hatched, and was depredated at 9 days of age.

M1's bands are read as: X, B/O, --,--. We can't see the silver band at the top, but he is showing us his B/O band!

M1's mate, F1, is another Wasaga Beach bird, hatched in 2014. Last year she laid 3 eggs on private land, and MNRF was not able to get permission from the landowner to protect the nest. Her eggs disappeared after a few days.

F1's bands are read as: X , Y/O : O, y (025)

F1 and M1 have been scraping and dancing and mating for weeks now, and finally have a nest with eggs.


A little further south along the beach there is another exclosure over the nest that was the first to be discovered on the beach.

It belongs to M2 and F2. M2 is "Flag Boy" -- hatched in Michigan in 2012. Last year he was able to fledge 2 chicks on Sauble Beach, one of which was spotted in Florida last winter.

M2's bands are read as: Of, O, B : X, L

F2 hatched at Sauble Beach in 2012, and has nested at Sauble from 2013 - 2015.

Her bands are read as : X, B/O/B : --, --(although apparently her original band was X, O/B :--,--, and the orange part has moved).


The last pair of birds consists of M3 ("Mr. Lonely") and the newly arrived F4. (F4 was likely one of the females seen with Port Boy, but has not been seen on the beach since she left him after one day on May 13!)

M3 hatched at Wasaga Beach in 2014, and has been sighted in Florida during the winters. He had no mate last year, and we sure hope that he and F4 can come up with a nest full of eggs very soon!

And then maybe his name can be changed to "Mr. Lonely-No-More"....

His bands are read as : X, Y : O, y (020). (We can't see the top bands on this picture.)

F4 is the female that has chosen Mr. Lonely (M3) as her mate. Her bands are read as : O , O/Y : X, -- (G dot).

On this closeup photo, we can see the 2 green dots on the top

orange band. Some numbers are also visible on the silver band.


The combinations of "blues and oranges" have made things tricky this year. Yellows are also a bit confusing -- some appear to be light (y), but may have faded. Please let me know (on the "Contact" page ) if I need to make corrections!


Many thanks to the Plover Lovers committee, volunteers, and last year's Beach Biologist for all of their work in creating charts full of information that I have "borrowed" and used on this Blog page. Special thanks to Don Kennedy as well for his tireless efforts on behalf of the Piping Plovers. His daily beach walks, discoveries of new birds and eggs, and reports are invaluable in our Plover recovery efforts.

Visit for more Piping Plover information, photos, and updates.

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