Posted to Plover Lovers Facebook:
This photo was taken by Plover Lover volunteer Merri-Lee Metzger. We not only appreciate her efforts as a volunteer, but also her efforts as a photographer! Thank you Merri-Lee!!
Thank you to Vince Cavalieri who shared this info:
“That’s what we call this display. Typically the male stands over the nest scrape and spreads out his wings a bit; the female then comes and sits in the scrape under the male’s wing. The male usually tilts down a little and calls softly, sometimes bobs up and down a bit.”
Watch a video of this behaviour as well as ‘goose stepping & mating’.
Piping Plovers (Charadrius melodus) courting and mating near Milford Point, Milford, CT, on 5 April 2012. Male performs symbolic nest scrape and produces nest-scraping call; male raises tail (tilt display) and female walks underneath; male performs goose stepping, including kicking female’s flanks; male mounts and remains on female’s back for 1 minute, 28 seconds, ending with copulation. Dismounts and nips female’s neck. All behaviors part of standard Piping Plover courting, mating behavior.