Our smallest tern. These colonies may contain several hundred to several thousand birds, including roseate, least and gull-billed terns, and black skimmers on Long Island. CC BY 2.0 Buck Island is one of 15 known nesting sites on St. Croix for the least tern, Sterna antillarum , a locally protected migratory sea bird, the Park Service notes. It’s easy to understand why the species is threatened, and in some regions, endangered. Once common on sand beaches in southern Maine, the piping plover and least tern are now listed as endangered under the Maine Endangered Species Act. Status Endangered, Listed 6/27/1985 Description Least Terns are the smallest North American terns. The outlined areas represent approximate current range for each season. Interior Least Tern and Piping Plover populations have declined due to: broad-scale alteration of natural river systems ; loss of midstream river nesting habitat ; loss of overwintering habitat; hunting for the restaurant and millinery trades in the late 1800s and early 1900s “That’s how strong a flyer they are,” he said. Populations are endangered in many areas because of human impacts on nesting areas, especially competition for use of beaches. Least Terns could potentially be confused with the following species: Forster's Tern - Forster's Tern is another black-capped tern species that nests in South Dakota. In estuaries, they usually search against the current. Least Terns can lay one to three eggs. Of … Climate Endangered Least Tern. The Least Terns’ sudden appearance in Hancock County last year left Audubon’s team scrambling to protect the birds. Often seen flying low over the water, with quick deep wingbeats and shrill cries. Least Terns nest on sandy beaches with little vegetation, the same type of beach habitat that people love. ... Tell them why these at-risk birds are so important to you, and ask them to pledge to do their part, too. Terns tend to make poor nests in bad spots. Unusual for a tern, the Roseate Tern shows some kleptoparasitic (food-stealing) behavior, snatching fish from other bird species such as … Both parents help to make a simple scrape in the ground, collecting debris to form a rim … During the breeding season, male Least Terns create nests called scrapes. Forster's Terns are significantly larger than Least Terns, but that identification point may be difficult for a bird seen in isolation. Least Tern eggs are astonishingly well camouflaged on a pebbly beach, making them nearly impossible to see. Today, interior least terns are still facing threats of continued habitat loss, human disturbance, pollution and disease. Roseate terns arrive to Massachusetts nesting areas between late-April and the first week of May. The least terns are important to conserve because they help connect the ecosystems of the ocean and the coastal dunes, depositing nutrients in the nutrient-poor dunes, Flaherty said. By my estimation, the Least Tern eggs should have started to hatch. Both species are imperiled throughout much of their range in the United States and Canada. There are three populations of least terns in the United States. They are protected by the: Federal Endangered Species Act ; Federal International Migratory Bird Treaty Act ; Nebraska Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act There are three populations of least terns in the United States. Least terns are the smallest of terns, but they travel far. Least Terns vigorously defend their nests and the radius around the nest. The Tern was taken to the wildlife conservation area where at least 20 other baby Terns have been rescued recently. Storm tides can destroy a colony too. It’s easy to understand why the species is threatened, and in some regions, endangered. They nest on bare ground, out in the open. Beck said the least tern population in Virginia is ''fairly healthy'' but declining. Hartfield said one bird was tagged in South Dakota and later was found in Japan. Eggs are laid between mid-May and mid-August. In order to woo or attract a lady, the male Least Tern must offer her a fish and if she accepts, they will mate. Fairy terns’ high tide roost sites are open areas of mud, sand, shell or sparsely vegetated salt marsh, which are also used by other roosting shorebirds. Their numbers have been significantly reduced due to loss of nesting habitat and predation of their … Needless to say, on Friday early evening when we arrived at the Biloxi Beach Least Tern Breeding Area and there wasn't a chick in sight, and I was more than a little disappointed. She worries because least terns are now endangered in the Mississippi Delta and on the West Coast. The California Least Tern and the Western Snowy Plover in Orange County by Cheryl Egger : Even though the endangered California Least Tern and the threatened Pacific Coast population of the Western Snowy Plover prefer the same beach habitat for breeding, they require different approaches for protection from predators and human interference. Interior Least Terns and Piping Plovers are protected under federal and state laws. Least terns prefer to build nests on light colored shells or gravel. Why are we interested in Interior Least Terns and Piping Plovers? Adults average 8 to 10 inches in length, with a 20 inch wingspan. Memorial Day Weekend we headed down to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Least Terns are listed as a Species of Special Concern in Massachusetts and protected under the state Endangered Species Act (MESA). From late April to mid-May, common terns return to their northern breeding colonies. Scrapes are small shallow bowls that the Least Terns create by scraping their bellies in the sand or gravel. Other Names Least Tern Texas Status Endangered U.S. U.S.FWS Species profile about species listing status, federal register publications, recovery, critical habitat, conservation planning, petitions, and life history. Since the terns nest and raise their young on the ground, the birds, their eggs - and young chicks especially - are vulnerable to predators, like cats, coyotes, and owls. Least terns have returned to Buck Island Reef National Monument to nest/Craig O'Neal file via Wikipedia. “The western gull-billed tern is endangered and needs the same protections afforded the plover and least tern.” In the United States and Mexico, there are roughly 1,000 to 2,000 western gull-billed terns, 5,000 snowy plovers, and 14,000 California least terns. The interior least tern was federally listed as endangered in 1985. The beach was roped off and was marked with flags to help identify egg locations. Scrapes are small, shallow bowls that the least terns create by scraping their bellies in the sand or gravel. Usually hovers before plunging into water for tiny prey; does more hovering than most terns. Endangered and Threatened Birds in Texas At present, there are 16 birds that are considered to be threatened or endangered by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. One in California is still on the endangered list, and the eastern one is doing fine. Fun Facts - The interior least tern is the smallest member of the tern family. Elegant Terns sometimes breed in mixed colonies with other terns or Heerman's Gulls, where their nests are packed closely together. Least Terns are endangered because of habitat loss. Incubation lasts for 3 weeks, then nestling lasts for 4 weeks. Like Least and Inca Terns, the Roseate Tern captures food mainly by plunge-diving, completely submerging underwater to catch prey. Disturbing their nests can also be a cause. Least Turns are on the United States Endangered Species List. The fashion of wearing bird feathers on hats in the late 1800’s negatively impacted the populations of all terns. The least tern is the smallest North American tern and nests on beaches along the East and West Coasts. Fairy terns forage by hovering 5-15 m above the water surface, before diving for prey, but not totally immersing their body. Most roseate terns begin to breed at 3 years of age, while some wait until at least 4 years. Least Terns are an endangered species. Getting too close to their nests while boating, canoeing, or any type of water activity can make them leave or destroy their homes. The least tern is a North American bird who is active from April to June of each year. It is important to understand the laws that protect terns and plovers and why they are in place. For instance, changes in river systems and changes and weather patterns can drive them away. The U.S. FWS's Threatened & Endangered Species System track information about listed species in the United States. Every spring, least terns migrate south and arrive at the Naval Air Station near Key West, Florida. Terns use a wide array of habitat types for foraging, including large rivers, lakes, ponds, and shallow wetlands. This Least Tern fought off an interloper that happened to be a member of the same species (wing visible to right). Least Tern eggs are astonishingly well camouflaged on a pebbly beach, making them nearly impossible to see. Least Terns nest on sandy beaches with little vegetation, the same type of beach habitat that people love. Fish and Wildlife Service put the interior least tern on the endangered species list in 1985. Least Tern is classified as threatened, endangered, or as a species of concern for most states because of loss of nesting habitat, and the interior population has been federally listed as endangered since 1985. There are three populations of least terns in the United States. One in California is still on the endangered list, and the eastern one is doing fine. By the mid-1970’s, least tern populations had decreased by more than 80 percent from the 1940’s. Conversely, nesting habitat is more specific; interior least terns construct nests on the ground and require open areas of sand and gravel that are largely devoid of vegetation.Historically, interior least terns nested along all of the large, sandy prairie river systems in Oklahoma. Unlike the Piping Plover, the Least Tern is not listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act, however, the Reservation is responsible for managing Least Terns according to the state guidelines. The nest is a simple scrape built above the high tide line in sand, gravel, shells or windrowed seaweed. The California least tern, Sternula antillarum browni, is a subspecies of least tern that breeds primarily in bays of the Pacific Ocean within a very limited range of Southern California, in San Francisco Bay and in northern regions of Mexico.This migratory bird is a U.S. federally listed endangered subspecies. The least tern is not extinct, but it is endangered. Thanks to the least tern's speckled eggs and light-colored bodies, this environment helps them hide from predators. The U.S. The darker the color, the more favorable the climate conditions are for survival. One in California is still on the endangered list, and the eastern one is doing fine.