Research. Education. Outreach.

Why are we interested in Interior Least Terns and Piping Plovers?

Interior Least Tern and Piping Plover populations have declined due to:

  • broad-scale alteration of natural river systems
  • loss of midstream river nesting habitat
  • loss of overwintering habitat
  • hunting for the restaurant and millinery trades in the late 1800s and early 1900s

Amount of midstream river sandbar nesting habitat has been reduced by

  • invasive plant species
  • construction of dams and reservoirs
  • river channelization
  • bank stabilization
  • island armoring
  • hydropower generation
  • water diversion

Threats to overwintering habitat for both species include

  • sea level rise
  • global climate change
  • residential, industrial, and commercial development
  • Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership Logo
  • Plover chick running
    Day-old plover chick running across the sand at Lake McConaughy, NE
    Allison Johnson
  • Adult Tern in Mid flight
    Interior Least Tern in flight
    Allison Johnson
  • Plover in flight
    Piping Plover flying across the sandbars of a river bed.
    Joel Jorgensen
  • Interior Least Tern inflight
    Interior Least Tern
    Joel Jorgensen
  • Plover adult and chick near water
    Adult male plover with chick near water.
    Wayne Hathaway
  • Interior Least Tern chick hiding in shade
    Interior Least Tern chick looking for a little shade
    Courtney McCusker
  • Plover Chick and Egg
    Two 1-day old plover chicks with unhatched egg.
    Courtney McCusker
  • Interior Least Tern and chick
    Adult Interior Least Tern and chick
    Diane Pratt
  • Plover chick staring full on
    Day-old plover chick at Lake McConaughy, NE
    Allison Johnson
  • Interior Least Tern and Chick
    Interior Least Tern adult and chick.
    Diane Pratt
  • Interior Least Tern chick  on weighing scale
    Weighing Interior Least Tern chick
  • Interior Least Tern nest with chick and egg
    Interior Least Tern nest with one chick and egg.
  • Plover feigning injury
    Piping Plover feigning a broken wing to draw prey from the plover's nest.
    Joel Jorgensen

Tern and Plover Field Season

May through August


Annual Report

Download the 2023 Annual Report