Effect of chick shelters on avian predation of least tern Sterna antillarum chicks at colonies on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, USA

  • Published source details Jenks-Jay N. (1982) Chick shelters decrease avian predation in least tern colonies on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts. Journal of Field Ornithology, 53, 58-60


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Physically protect nests with individual exclosures/barriers or provide shelters for chicks of ground nesting seabirds

Action Link
Bird Conservation
  1. Physically protect nests with individual exclosures/barriers or provide shelters for chicks of ground nesting seabirds

    A before-and-after study from 1978-1980 at seven least tern Sterna antillarum colonies on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, USA (Jenks-Jay 1982) found that predation rates on chicks were greatly reduced following the provision of chick shelters (43 cm high cones made from 11 slats, with a 66 cm basal diameter), compared to previous years. In 1978, a pair of American kestrels Falco sparverius ‘greatly reduced’ tern productivity at a colony by removing a tern chick approximately every 15 minutes for two hours, whereas a pair of northern harriers Circus cyaneus reduced productivity at another colony by 80%  in 1979 (four chicks from 20 nests escaping). In 1980, with shelters present, no kestrels or harriers were seen hunting within the tern colonies, although they were present in the vicinity.


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