San Diego Least Terns

This week I made another trip to San Diego to assist with putting geo-locators on Least Terns again. The procedure was the same. We got in the truck, rode along as we looked for nesting terns that did not have geo-locators on them yet, and when we found them we would set the trap. Our goal was to tag ten terns. I thought it would be a short day, considering that a week ago we were able to get twelve by noon. However, there weren’t many terns nesting near the dirt path where we hide in the truck. A couple of times Tom Ryan, the main person working on the project, had to lay outside the truck and try to hide behind a log or a dune. The terns seemed more cautious when approaching the traps and there were times when they would all disappear for brief moments of time. A Peregrine Falcon picking off a Least Tern in mid-air definitely made the job a bit harder. It was cool to watch the falcon on the hunt, but it was sad to see a Least Tern get taken. At the end of the day we were able to put geo-locators on seven terns. That means that there are over forty birds with geo-locators on them. Now we will wait for next year and try to recover the geo-locators. There is concern over it being an El Niño year. This can decrease the number of terns that return with geo-locators and it can alter the data they provide. We will hope for the best and see what kind of return we get next year.

A Least Tern

A Least Tern

The geo-locator placed on the Least Terns

The geo-locator placed on the Least Terns


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