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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Placement of floating nest platforms to enhance nesting habitat of black terns Chlidonias niger at Grassy Lake, Wisconsin, USA

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 intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Provide artificial nesting sites for ground and tree-nesting seabirds Bird Conservation

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.