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Mountain Plover (Charadrius montanus)

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

·         Mountain Plovers are medium-sized shorebirds that lack the distinctive neckbands typical of many other plovers. In Canada, they are at the northern periphery of their range and are restricted to extreme southeastern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan. In Canada, reports are localized and irregular, with only 44 observations recorded since 1874.

·         Mountain Plovers breed in areas of short or intensively grazed vegetation, bare ground, recently burned grasslands, and flat topography.

·         Market hunting prior to the 1900s and loss of habitat due to cultivation were probably the primary reasons for the initial decline of the Mountain Plover in North America. There are a number of factors that may threaten Mountain Plovers, including habitat alteration, range management practices, human disturbance, changes in precipitation patterns, and pesticides.

·         The recovery goal for the Mountain Plover is to maintain its recent abundance and distribution in southeastern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan. A more quantitative goal is precluded by the paucity of information on Mountain Plover abundance.

·        Whether the Mountain Plover will ever have a viable and self-sustaining population in Canada is unknown; nevertheless, it is possible to increase the likelihood of this species persisting in Canada by maintaining the habitat that supports the small and possibly sporadic occurrences of the species.

·        Owing to a lack of information, critical habitat is not identified in this recovery strategy.

·         The two main objectives to meet the recovery goal are 1) to conserve significant habitat areas through stewardship and conservation agreements; and 2) to increase awareness of Mountain Plovers, their needs, their status, and threats to their survival.

·         A variety of research and management activities will be necessary to meet these objectives, including monitoring the number of breeding pairs and their distribution, identifying areas of critical habitat, developing management strategies, and developing a communication and education program.