Boaters urged not to disturb nesting terns

  • Protecting birds: Ausobon Society advising public (Photograph provided)

    Protecting birds: Ausobon Society advising public (Photograph provided)

A bid to protect the island’s small population of common terns has been launched.

Boaters have been asked to avoid some islands and buoys to safeguard the nesting birds.

Common terns — relatives of the island’s iconic longtails — are rare in Bermuda. There are only a handful of nesting pairs.

Karen Border, who replaced Andrew Dobson as president of the Bermuda Audubon Society earlier this year, said the birds were in the middle of their nesting season and set up home on small, treeless islands and large buoys in Hamilton and St George’s Harbours.

Ms Border said: “While enjoying a day out on the water, please be aware that it’s also the time Bermuda’s few breeding terns may be sitting on eggs or tending hatchlings.

“We thank the public for their past co-operation and we are asking boaters again to stay at least 200 yards away from the nest sites.

“Some of these are marked, but if there is a nest nearby, the terns will let you know by taking flight, circling your boat and calling loudly.

“If that happens, please move away as quickly as possible to avoid disturbing the birds any further.”

“They must remain on their nests to protect their eggs from the hot sun.”

Ms Border added: “The Audubon Society has also warned the public not to fly drones near the nesting islands.

“The drones are likely to be attacked by the terns, which could cause injury to the birds and damage to the drone.”

The common tern population has dropped over the past few decades due to a number of factors, including hurricanes. The island had 35 breeding pairs which produced up to 100 chicks a year in 1985.

Only five breeding pairs have been recorded this year.

Ms Border added: “Bermuda’s terns have been found to be a genetically distinct subspecies, which makes them especially rare and important.”

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Published Jul 25, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Jul 25, 2018 at 7:04 am)

Boaters urged not to disturb nesting terns

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