Tern Colony Conservation in the Saint-Lawrence River

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© Ève Surprenant-Desjardins
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  • Start Date : 15 Apr 2017
  • End Date: 15 Aug 2017

Héritage Laurentien has been mandated by Environment Canada to undertake a conservation project aimed at protecting and surveying Common Tern colonies located on small rocky islands offshore from the boroughs of Verdun and Lasalle.

Several anthropogenic and natural disturbances affect the reproductive success of terns nesting on the islands in question. These disturbances include kayaks, water scooters and other watercrafts that wander too close to the small islands where the terns nest. Certain individuals will even deliberately approach the nests and the chicks. Furthermore, certain aggressive species, such as Common Reed and Ring-billed Gull, also invade the islands, greatly reducing available nesting space for terns.

Wildlife experts from Héritage Laurentien will conduct a survey of tern nests and install a protection device on the islands where the colonies are found. This device consists of a type of loose netting that allow terns to access their nests while preventing gulls from landing on the islands. The project also includes a public awareness component with regards to the tern colonies and the Saint-Lawrence islands ecosystem. Local nautical equipment rental companies have been made aware of the issue and a conference will be offered to citizens following analysis of the survey results. A federal permit has been issued to undertake this project and a report on the status of the tern colonies will be presented to the government.

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