Even species as apparently innocuous as the Western Meadowlark and Domestic Pigeon have destroyed Least Tern eggs (E. Copper). Hundreds of … Nesting in small colonies, least tern nests are shallow depressions scraped in open sandy areas, gravelly patches, or exposed flats. Some parts of this site work best with JavaScript enabled. They take about 28 days to hatch. About the Big These little chicks actually hatch with open eyes, unlike some species like pelicans, which are born with no feathers and closed eyes. The Least Tern has two big problems. The wings are mostly pale gray, but with conspicuous black markings on their outermost primaries. When breeding, the interior least tern is like a heating pad. Least Tern are widespread and common in places, but its favored nesting habitat is prized for human recreation, residential development, and alteration by water diversion, which interfere with successful nesting in many areas. Habitat & Distribution . Nests are situated on barren to sparsely vegetated places ne… In any case, the bulk of the population has left the breeding grounds by the end of August. Location of Least Tern foraging flocks in nearshore San Diego Bay 40 20. The upper parts are a fairly uniform pale gray, and the underparts white. In the southeastern United States, many breeding sites are on white gravel rooftops. This brief snippet of video shows a least tern sitting on a nest with eggs at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. This least tern is on the nest. The Least Tern is the smallest tern in North America and nests on sandy beaches along both coasts of the United States, and along major rivers in the interior of the continent. The area is located at the North side of the Santa Ana River mouth at Huntington State Beach, accessed from the Magnolia Street entrance. The direct impacts of beach driving and roadkill, including destruction of eggs, and mortality of adults and chicks have been well documented in the western panhandle and northeast Florida. Coloration varies from grayish-brown to yellow to nearly reddish or sandy-brown with white undersides and tiny dark spots on head and back Semiprecocial which describes young that have open eyes, down, and are mobile at hatch but don't leave the nest right after … Female birds lose a patch of feathers on their bellies. Courtship typically takes place removed from the nesting colony site, usually on an exposed tidal flat or beach. One of my favorite things to watch is the male Least Tern doing his funny little dance and offering the female a fish. It differs from the little tern mainly in that its rump and tail are gray, not white, and it has a different, more squeaking call; from the yellow-billed tern in being paler gray above and having a black tip to the bill; and from the Peruvian tern in being paler gray above and white (not pale gray) below and having a shorter black tip to the bill. Nests often found in Least Tern colonies Typically lay 4 eggs in a small cup-like depression on the ground Line nest with small pebbles Place eggs with the narrow ends pointing to the center of the nest One to three buff to pale green eggs marked with black, gray or brown are laid in a scrape in the sand, shells or pebbles. [9] Insects are known to be eaten during El Niño events. Least Terns lay one to three buff or pale green eggs with dark blotches. Plovers and terns lay their eggs directly on the sand. Least tern Facts. The breeding populations of Least Tern in California and the interior U.S. are listed as Endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. Location of foraging flocks during the Chick stage 43 22. Nevertheless, Least Terns in some components of the east are actually nesting efficiently on gravel roofs close to the coast. Both parents incubate their eggs for about 24 days. The eggs are incubated for 21-23 days by both parents. There are two eggs which can be seen if one looks closely. Foster). The breeding colonies are not dense and may appear along either marine or estuarine shores, or on sandbar islands in large rivers, in areas free from humans or predators. Least Terns prefer to nest on sandy beaches where they face the threat of predators such as feral and free ranging cats, dogs, coyotes, raccoons, ghost crabs, human impact, and changing environments such as flooding. In one week in 1999, a single coyote destroyed or caused the abandonment of about 340 of the 790 nests at the Santa Margarita River mouth, site of California’s largest Least Tern colony (B.