A comparison of management techniques used by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection to protect least tern colonies

Musk, Pamela
Meade Cadot
Department of Environmental Studies
During the 1995 nesting season, least tern colonies along Connecticut shoreline were monitored for success, failure and chick production. Predation, vegetation encroachment and human disturbance have affected these populations and resulted in reduced productivity (the number of chicks fledged per pair of adults) in past seasons. The productivity at colonies where three different management strategies were used was calculated and compared to determine if any had a significant effect on fledging survival. All colonies were posted with educational signs and fenced using wooden stakes strung with cotton string. Areas on three beaches were cleared of vegetation and enclosed with metal fencing to protect nests from depredation and disturbance. Chick shelters were placed on five beaches in order to provide protection from the sun and predators for hatched chicks and pre-fledglings. The results of the study were inconclusive since the largest colony was destroyed due to flooding on two occasions. Causes of nest and chick loss were determined by observation made at nest sites. Recommendations for future study and management have been suggested.

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