As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Black tern numbers plummet, invasives largely to blame

Capital News Service

LANSING — The once-abundant black tern is far less abundant in Great Lakes wetlands, a victim of habitat loss and invasive plant species. And there’s a high risk that more colonies will be abandoned, according to a new study.

Since 1991, the number of active black tern colonies has plummeted nearly 90 percent, the study found. Major factors included changes in vegetation from invasive plants at breeding sites and land development near colonies.

“Decline of black terns in the Great Lakes region has been severe, and preventing abandonment of remaining colonies is an important stop-gap measure for maintaining the bird’s presence until the causes of its decline are better understood,” study authors Katherine Wyman and Francesca Cuthbert of the University of Minnesota wrote.

“Many scientists view continuing wetland habitat loss and degradation as a major barrier to black tern conservation in North America,” they said in a new article published in the journal Wetlands Ecology and Management. And fewer breeding sites increases the birds’ vulnerability to natural disasters.

Terns aren’t the only beneficiaries of coastal wetlands preservation and restoration.
Cuthbert said fish nurseries benefit, as do other birds such as the least bittern — a threatened species in Michigan — Virginia rail, pied-billed grebe and marsh wren. All those species need water they can walk, swim or forage in.

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