Along The St. Lawrence, Making a Home For 'Terns'

Along The St. Lawrence, Making a Home For 'Terns'

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Call it a rite of spring: volunteers are building "tern grids" along the St. Lawrence River to protect the Common Tern, a bird which is a threatened species in New York.

The volunteers construct "grids" of rope and mesh to keep other birds, like seagulls and cormorants, out of nesting areas where terns flock. As volunteers worked last week on Eagle Wings Shoal near Clayton, they left just enough room for the terns to drop down and nest. Volunteers also leave decoy "terns" to let the real birds know they've found a safe place to settle.

"It preserves the the shoal for just the Common Tern and excludes other birds that are native here," said Brandon Hollis, the stewardship director for the Thousand Islands Land Trust (TILT).

Volunteers also placed a "nesting box" on the shoal.

"It just creates a little added spot for protection and in doing so we've seen success with nests inside and close to the frame itself," said Kate Breheny, 'Save The River' program manager.

The terns return to the Thousand Islands in just a few weeks. The grids will stay up for them until August, when nesting season ends. 

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