"[T]his bird is very noysey when flying which it dose extreemly swift the motion of the wing is much like that of the Kildee it has two notes one like the squaking of a small pig only on reather a higher kee, and the other kit'-tee'-kit'-tee'-as near letters can express the sound." -- Meriwether Lewis
When the Corps of Discovery canoed the Missouri River, Clark commented on the "Sand bars which choked up the Missouri and confined the [river] to a narrow . . . Chanel." These seasonal islands did more than force the water to plot a more meandering course; they provided nesting grounds for migratory birds like the interior least tern, a fork-tailed bird that darts over the banks like a swallow.
One of three varieties of least tern, the interior least tern [is the only one to nest along inland rivers rather than the coast. Soon after arriving at their summer nesting grounds along the Platte, Niobrara, and Missouri  rivers, male interior least terns launch a courting ritual called "fish flight." With a fish in its mouth, the male will wheel around in the air with one or two females following. Later on, he will offer small fish to prospective mates.
The terns scrape shallow nests in sandbars, preferably in the middle of a river, far from predators. There the female lays two to three pale eggs. Interior least terns nest close together, sometimes 30 pairs on the same beach, seeking safety in numbers. When a great horned owl or coyote approaches, the birds rise up in a noisy flock and chase it away with harsh cries.
Though helpless at birth, the sand-colored chicks fly within three weeks and by September are ready to migrate to Central and South America for the winter.