A Successful Tern Colony

This week I was able to visit a successful Least Tern colony in San Diego. I assisted with putting geo-locators on Least Terns. I learned about the requirements for the terns to be eligible to be fitted with a geo-locator and the process of catching the terns and putting the geo-locator on them. Some of the requirements for the terns to be eligible are that they must be over 40 grams and the eggs must be incubated for at least two weeks. It is believed that after two weeks, the terns have an increased fidelity to their nest and will be less likely to leave if disturbed. The trap was simpler than I had imagined or would have thought. A chicken wire box is put over the nest and held up by a stick attached to a string. We go into the truck that is stationed a few meters from the nest and wait for the tern to go back to its nest to incubate. We then pull the string attached to stick and the chicken wire box traps the tern. We then rush to get the tern and pat down the sand to get rid of any imprints the trap left. The tern is brought back to the truck and fitted with a geo-locator. It is then released and we move on to the next eligible nest. It was a great experience to see what a successful Least Tern colony looks like. It has had me thinking a lot about what else can be done to help the terns at Venice that are having trouble breeding because of the crows. It was eye opening to see how different the two sites are. There were many nests, eggs, and even chicks. We must look for other ways to help the Venice site reach the same level of success as the San Diego site. I am hopeful that Venice will be a successful site again.

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