Effect of floating nest platforms on the breeding performance of black terns

  • Published source details Shealer D., Buzzell J. & Heiar J. (2006) Effect of floating nest platforms on the breeding performance of black terns. Journal of Field Ornithology, 77, 184-194.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Provide artificial nesting sites for ground and tree-nesting seabirds

Action Link
Bird Conservation
  1. Provide artificial nesting sites for ground and tree-nesting seabirds

    A controlled, replicated trial in 2003-4 at a wetland site in Wisconsin, USA (Shealer et al. 2006), found that black terns Chlidonias niger occupied 63-66% of 41 floating nest platforms provided each year (34-35% of the local population used them). Platform nests had significantly higher hatching success and nest survival rates in 2004, but not 2003. Eggs laid on platforms were significantly larger than those on natural substrates, suggesting that platforms were occupied by high-quality birds (and were therefore preferred). Platforms were 46 x 46 cm polystyrene and plywood squares, covered in hardware cloth and anchored to the lake bottom with a metal pipe (allowing vertical movement). Platforms were spaced 10–15 m apart in clusters of 5–10 and were positioned in the same location during both years of the study.


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