Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Breeding Range. (Fig 62). Fairly common locally on the Missouri Coteau; uncommon and local on the Northwestern Drift Plain and in the Devils Lake-Stump Lake area of the Northeastern Drift Plain.
Breeding Habitat. Largely restricted to exposed, sparsely vegetated shores and islands of shallow lakes and impoundments. Preferred habitats are salt-encrusted bare areas, either shorelines or islands, that are composed of gravel, sand, or pebbly mud and occur on alkali lakes and subsaline, semipermanent ponds and lakes.
Some of the better known lakes and impoundments that are occupied by breeding Piping Plovers include Stump Lake in Nelson County; Devils Lake in Benson and Ramsey Counties; Broken Bone Lake in Benson County; Buffalo Lodge Lake in McHenry County; Mouse River impoundment on J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge; Mouse River impoundment on Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge; Lostwood Lake in Burke County; White Lake in Mountrail County; Pelican, Peterson, and Turtle Lakes in McLean County; Alkaline (Lake Arthur), Horsehead, Sibley, Spring and Stony Lakes in Kidder County; Long Lake in Burleigh County; and Stink Lake in Stutsman County.
Breeding populations occurring along 20 miles of lake shore at Devils Lake in 1899 were restricted to two small islands and one long gravelly point; one colony of four pairs was located on a strip of shingle, representing a former shoreline, that was about 200 yards long and 50 feet from the water's edge (Rolfe 1900a). On June 4, 1965, eight pairs had established breeding territories along the shoreline of a 490-acre alkali lake in Kidder County (RES).
Nesting. Breeding season: Mid-May to early August; peak, late May to mid-July. Extreme egg dates (13 nests): May 19  in Burleigh County (B. J. Rose) to July 5  in Benson County (Rolfe 1899b). Extreme dates of dependent young (13 broods): June 26  in Burke County (A. M. Gammell) to July 27  in Stutsman County (RES).
Nests consist of shallow, scraped depressions, often lined with small pebbles, that are situated on gravel, sand, or pebbly mud.
Indicated clutch size (7 nests): 3 to 4 eggs; mean, 3.9 eggs.