Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



Randall D. Williams, “Nesting Observations of the Piping Plover near Sioux City,” from Nebraska Bird Review (December 1985) 53(4).


Copyright 1985 Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union. Used by permission.


From mid-April to early August 1985 members of the Loess Hills Audubon Society monitored the nesting of Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) on fly-ash settling ponds of the IPS Port Neal Generating Station, on the Missouri River near Salix, Iowa. Declining regional and national populations (Barie, 1985; Kaufman, 1984; and Evans, 1985) make the discovery of nesting individuals quite exciting. Piping Plovers were first found at this site in 1984.

The ash ponds appear to be very good nesting habitat (Evans, 1985). There are large areas of gravel-like substrate with little to no vegetation, minimal human disturbance, and an available source of water. Observations were made at irregular intervals by a team of interested individuals. A total of six nests were discovered during the study period and 23 eggs were produced.

The first 1985 sighting occurred on 18 April, with the discovery of three adult birds. Two days later, 20 April, six individuals were seen. Courting and territorial behavior was noted on both dates. The first nest was found on 11 May, but no adults could be associated with this nest. A second nest, with defensive adults, was located on 12 May.