Piping Plovers are nearly invisible until they run a short distance, stop, and tilt forward to pull an insect or worm from the soft sand. They tend to forage alone or in small groups sticking to the higher parts of the shoreline relative to other shorebirds. Piping Plovers breed along ocean shores in the Northeast and along lakeshores and alkali wetlands in the northern Great Plains and Great Lakes. They nest above the high water mark in soft sandy areas with sparse vegetation. In the winter they use coastal beaches, sand flats, and mudflats.