Boating Public Urged To Safeguard Nesting Sites

June 7, 2016 | 7 Comments

The Ministry of the Environment is urging Bermuda’s boating public to safeguard the nesting sites of Bermuda’s critically endangered Common Tern, saying that nesting sites are marked with ‘No Landing’ signs, and if disturbed, any chicks that fall into the water will drown.

“Currently numbering just five nesting pairs, terns lay clutches of three eggs in nests on tiny islets or on ship buoys,” a spokesperson said.

“Jet skiers, paddle boarders, kayakers and other pleasure boaters are asked to avoid landing at nesting sites and to refrain from mooring to ship buoys with nests to allow the common tern population a chance to increase.

“Nesting sites are marked with ‘No Landing’ signs. If disturbed, any chicks that fall into the water will drown. In addition, adult birds frequently swoop down on intruders as a warning to leave the nest area.

“Two nesting pairs have chosen ship buoys, one pair is on the buoy near Morgan’s Point in the west end [Great Sound Southampton] and the other pair on the buoy in St. George’s Harbour.

“Bermuda’s endemic Common Tern is unique to the island as it shares no genetic contribution from terns found elsewhere on the globe.

“Common Terns fall under the Protected Species Act, which provides for a maximum fine of $ 25,000 or imprisonment for anyone convicted of causing deliberate harm to the species.”

Dr. David Wingate, retired Conservation Officer, has been monitoring the population as a volunteer and is appealing for public cooperation in protecting the five remaining nesting pairs.

Dr. Mark Outerbridge, the Ministry of Environment’s Senior Biodiversity Officer says, “Sadly, we are looking at a very unpredictable future for Bermuda’s nesting tern population. We trust that the boating public, once aware of the plight of our terns, will be extra sensitive to the nests.”

Photos — provided by the Government — by Lynn Thorne:

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Comments (7)

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  1. Hope says:

    Do these birds return to the same nesting site each year?

    • LCT says:

      Yes, they do tend to be faithful to their nest site and when numbers were better multiple pairs nested on the same islets

      • Hope says:

        Thank you! Hopefully people will begin to recognize these nest sites then and leave them undisturbed every year.

  2. Terry says:

    Last photo speaks a thousand words.

    We have our space.

    Give em theirs.

    Shalom.

    • JCS says:

      That’s Patrick Talbot, Chief Aquarist at the Aquarium.

      • LCT says:

        Actually no, it is not Patrick Talbot. The tern research team consists of Dr. David Wingate, master’s degree student Miguel Mejias, wildlife rehabilitator and eco-tour guide Lynn Thorne (project photographer)

  3. Commodore JB of BBIRYC says:

    I echo this plea for boaters and mariners to use caution to not disturb these nests. My good friend geordie, when he is not ticketing my car, are avid mariners and bird watchers. We will do our best to assist with helping to preserve this species.

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