West Seattle Blog… | BIRDS OF WEST SEATTLE: Update on Displaced and Late Caspian Terns
(Photos by Kersti Muul)
A week and a half ago we published the answer to a question that many West Seattle birders have been asking – where were all the caspian tern, crying so distinctly as they flew overhead en route to a Duwamish River nesting site, Gone? Community Naturalist Kersti Muul had followed them to a new meeting place atop a building at the southern end of the downtown waterfront. Here’s what she’s learned since:
Was able to see the colony (Monday) and found they had laid eggs and may still be laying as several are still bringing fish back to their mates.
I’ll be watching the situation closely as it’s very late now, and it’s just going to get hotter as the summer progresses. The chicks must be able to fly well in order to leave with the colony in the fall, and they are already two and a half months late. The colony seems to be about half of what it was last year, and I’m still trying to figure out where the others are. I will be looking at another nest site this weekend to see if they can be there. Last year, the Seattle colony had 1978 nests/approximately 4000 adults (WDFW drone survey). My drone study has about half that this year, though I’ve yet to do a formal count.
It’s fascinating to see all the eggs just sitting tightly together on the substrate with no nesting material or depressions. You wonder how they know which eggs are theirs. When there is a disturbance and they flush out, they must come back and find out which egg(s) are theirs. It’s a vulnerable time for them now with eggs to protect themselves from predators; they are getting more and more aggressive, live chicks will only increase this.
We wish them success and will update after the weekend!!