The Caspian Tern is the largest Tern in the world. In the Western Hemisphere it usually winters in Central America, migrates throughout the eastern part of the United States and nests along beaches as far north as Oregon and Canada. A rare breeder in Florida, where is spends a lot of time, it has been found to scrape out nests near small tufts of beach grass and shells, lay eggs that are buff color and lightly spotted and raise young. These are found near Tampa.
According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website, www.allaboutbirds.com, the Caspian Tern is on the Least Concern list for bird conservation meaning it is not endangered, just being watched.. However, people need to be aware of these and other shorebirds to avoid them ending up on the endangered list.
Many beach goers feel that they are free to use any part of the beach and that the nesting areas are an annoyance. They don’t feel that, by hanging out near the ropes that surround a nesting bird area, they are doing anything wrong. Many people don’t believe birds are that important to the eco-system.
If you set up on the beach near a roped nesting area, birds of prey (larger birds, fish crows, eagles) are attracted because they are looking for food. People on the beach means there will be food thrown around for these birds of prey to grab and fight over. Meanwhile, chances are great they flying bird will spot a nesting bird sitting on its nest. Feeling threatened, the nesting bird flees leaving either the eggs or the chicks vulnerable to the prey.
Caspian Terns are aggressive birds not to be messed with. It has been documented that Caspian Terns have attacked people on the head, who have come too close to their nesting grounds. It is wise to give these and other nesting shorebirds their space. The beach is large enough for everyone.
If you’d like to help out the organizations that educate people, raising awareness of nesting shorebirds, you can donate to this organization, Save the Chicks, by clicking the button on the Donate page. Or, by purchasing a set of Caspian Tern notecards from Crafty Beachcomber on Etsy. Each set of four different photos are attached to blank, ivory cards suitable for framing. There is a limited edition of 100 of these numbered sets. The photos are above. Proceeds from the sales of the limited edition card set will be given to an group that works hard to educate beach goers about what the roped areas mean, the importance of birds to the eco-system and other crucial. Subscribe to this blog, on the button to right on this page, for more information about the group we pick as financial beneficiary this year.