Least Tern Nest Count Down on North Captiva

provided to Santiva Chronicle

A least tern on North Captiva Island. Photo provided

Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation Biologist Audrey Albrecht reported last week the number of active least tern nests are down from 30 to 10 as of Friday, May 22, on North Captiva Island. She said 68 adults remain present on the island and will hopefully nest again.

“I’m unsure what caused the nest loss, but there are a lot of canine tracks and crows around,” said Albrecht. She has reported the nest loss to the Florida Wildlife Conservation.

There are two active snowy plover nests on Sanibel, with three broods of chicks, as well as a single Wilson’s plover nest with one chick. And there were no shorebird eggs or chicks lost on Sanibel over the Memorial Day weekend, says Albrecht.

“We are grateful to the City of Sanibel for their reminder to the public to report wildlife violations over the holiday weekend,” she said. “Memorial Day weekend can be a stressful time for beach nesting wildlife, especially shorebirds.”

Albrecht said increased crowds on the beaches can lead to increased disturbance to the birds, but there were very few incidents with unleashed dogs and only a few people who entered posted areas.

Young Banded Brown Pelican Spotted

Banded one-year-old brown pelican, second from left. Photo provided

Albrecht, along with SCCF Marine Science Educator Kealy McNeal, spotted a banded young brown pelican during a recent monitoring survey. They reported it and were contacted by Bradley Wilkinson, a Ph.D. candidate from Clemson University, who said the brown pelican is one year old and from one of the largest and oldest colonies in the Atlantic. And it’s name is SML.

“We are glad to know that SML survived its first year, which is a tough time for young pelicans,” Wilkinson said. “Thank you so much for reporting your observation. Data like this is very valuable to learning about the movement and dispersal of young pelicans in our region.”

SML’s colony, located at the mouth of the North Edisto River south of Charleston, had approximately 3,500 nesting pairs last year.

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