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  • Writer's pictureSusan Jameson

Sleeping Bear Dunes Endangered | PMF #8

Updated: Dec 30, 2023

Pure Michigan Facts #8

Welcome back to our Fun Michigan Facts!


Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Is Home To 5 Endangered Species



The Piping Plover


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"The piping plover (Charadrius melodus) is an endangered shorebird. They are sand-colored on the back and white below. During the breeding season, adults have a black forehead band between the eyes and a single black band around the neck. Its larger relative, the killdeer, is commonly seen at parks, playgrounds, and golf courses, and has two dark bands around the neck. Piping plovers nest only on beaches and prefer beaches with gravel. There are three small populations: one in the Great Plains, one on the Atlantic Coast, and one here in the Great Lakes. They winter together on the Gulf Coast but travel to the separate areas during the breeding season. Both the Great Plains and the Atlantic Coast populations are federally listed as “threatened” species. It is a special opportunity to be able observe the Great Lakes population of piping plovers since there are only between 75 and 80 nesting pairs in the entire Great Lakes area." - Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes


The Red Knot


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"Rufa red knot (Calidris canutus rufa) is a large sandpiper weighing an average of 4.8 ounces with a 20-inch wingspan, about the size of an American robin. There are three subspecies in North America and six species worldwide; rufa red knot is the eastern North American species. Their characteristic rusty 'rufous' plumage is the perfect camouflage in the Arctic breeding grounds to blend with wild grasses and wildflowers. In the fall they molt to a bland grey and white coloring for protection on the beaches of their South American wintering grounds."- Michigan Nature Association


Northern Long Eared Bat


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"The northern long-eared bat is a wide-ranging, federally threatened bat species, found in 37 states and eight provinces in North America. The species typically overwinters in caves or mines and spends the remainder of the year in forested habitats. As its name suggests, the northern long-eared bat is distinguished by its long ears, particularly as compared to other bats in the genus Myotis."- Fish and Wildlie Services


Tricolor Bat


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"The tricolored bat (Perimyotis subflavus) is one of the smallest bats native to North America. The once common species is wide ranging across the eastern and central United States and portions of southern Canada, Mexico and Central America. During the winter, tricolored bats are found in caves and mines, although in the southern United States, where caves are sparse, tricolored bats are often found roosting in road-associated culverts. During the spring, summer and fall, tricolored bats are found in forested habitats where they roost in trees, primarily among leaves. As its name suggests, the tricolored bat is distinguished by its unique tricolored fur that appears dark at the base, lighter in the middle and dark at the tip."- USF&W



Indiana Bat


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"Indiana bats are small, with mouse-like ears and dark brown to black fur, and only weigh one-quarter of an ounce. Though these bats are small and light, they appear larger in flight and have a wingspan of 9 to 11 inches."- MNA


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