The Tern Colony
by Elisabeth Nickles
This video shows a Common Tern, male or female, protecting and hovering over the nest where it has its eggs and chicks. The Common Terns are prolific and even have their nests throughout the camp where the fish and wildlife employees and interns live during their time monitoring the nests and their productivity. The work the staff does is intense, impressive and tedious. The successful population of the colony on Monomoy attests to its ideal habitat and is also a confirmation of the hard work of the refuge manager, David Brownlie; the biologist, Kate Iaquinto and staff.
The colony is a place where you must be aware of every
step you take or shift in your body when you are crouching or sitting.
There are chicks and nests everywhere!
|Many of the people working on the census are interns working on degrees|
in wildlife management, ecology or avian biology
|Kate landed upon. The flags on the helmets are to distract the birds from|
pecking their beaks on the helmet
The nests are checked daily in several enclosed areas throughout the tern colony. The areas are used to create averages as an indicator for the entire population of common terns on the island. The areas are checked for the number of nests and the nests are checked for the number of eggs, if the eggs are starred (cracking), pinging (a chick beginning to break through) or hatched. If there are chicks hatched, the chicks are banded. If the chicks are already banded, they are checked on daily for their condition. The information is logged daily for each nest within each sample area within certain timeframes of the spring and summer.
|Kate checking the number on the band, each day every chick is accounted for|
and their number checked with the data already entered
|Kate holding a chick that is starting to form its true feathers,|
making it possible to more correctly judge its age at about seven days old
|Within the Tern Colony are nesting Roseate Terns. The Roseate Tern is an endangered species and it benefits from building its nests and breeding near the more aggressive and protective Common Tern.|
|Roseate Tern Chick, a few days old|
Kate holding a roseate tern chick. The beak still has the eye-tooth that the chick uses to break the shell when it is hatching
For more information on Roseate Terns: http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/esa_works/profile_pages/NortheastRoseateTern.html