With a little help...
This week I had the opportunity to go out with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation staff when they put in nesting platforms for Black Terns. Black Terns are listed as Endangered in New York. Statewide breeding bird counts are conducted every three to four years for this species and several habitat management activities are ongoing in the state. Black Terns build very fragile floating nests that are often vulnerable to flooding. In certain circumstances nesting platforms are placed in marshes to encourage Black Tern to nest and to enhance nesting success.
Water levels in the marsh that we were paddling in is controlled by a water control structure, which had "help" from a beaver so some sticks and mud had to be removed. The debris was blocking the water flow outlet, causing the water to be higher than it usually would be in the spring. That has been cleared, but the water levels were still high.
Now enter the platforms - these structures, are comprised of a 16” X16” square made of firring strips with hardware cloth stapled in the middle. The platforms are anchored by using a rope and heavy weight. They are a good substitute for the cattail mats or other substrate that is necessary to make a nest. We added a little "muck" on top (mud, mixed with parts of cattail and other vegetation) and you have the perfect spot for a Black Tern to make their nest. Success!
The best part about the day was that the birds in question were all around us. The Black Terns were feeding and just flying around us, not quite settled yet into nests (which was good, since we were putting out sites for nests in the platforms), so our being there was only a slight nuisance to them. The marsh was alive with the terns, Canada Geese, and plenty of Red-winged Blackbirds, among other birds.
Beautiful day, beautiful weather and a chance to do good work for an Endangered species. Nice work giving a helping hand!
9/5/2017 04:28:08 am
Very nicely written blog .
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