Public urged to avoid disturbing little terns during breeding season

05/28/2022 05:56 PM
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Photo courtesy of the Ocean Conservation Administration
Photo courtesy of the Ocean Conservation Administration

Taipei, May 28 (CNA) The Ocean Conservation Administration (OCA) Saturday called on the public to avoid activities that disturb little terns, a type of seabird that usually breeds from April to July on coastal areas and inland waterways in parts of Taiwan.

According to the OCA, one of the principal threats to this shore nesting migratory bird is from human disturbance.

During last year's breeding season, the administration said conservationists found several nesting sites which had been attacked by stray dogs, while some also had signs of human disturbance as tire tracks were found running over the nests.

All this can affect the breeding success rate of little terns, which are also known as Sternula albifrons sinensis, it said.

Working in collaboration with National Taiwan University and volunteers from local wild bird societies, the OCA said the conservationists did a survey last year on the bird's known natural nesting sites in Yilan, Changhua, and Chiayi counties.

For the first time, the OCA said they also spotted new nesting grounds, including in the estuaries of Hualien River and Xihu River in Miaoli's Houlong Township, in Budai Wetland Park in Chiayi, and in a detention pool in Kaohsiung.

Photo courtesy of the Ocean Conservation Administration
Photo courtesy of the Ocean Conservation Administration

Based on last year's survey, the conservationists were able to discover 2,250 nests, the ocean administration said, noting that these seabirds can be found in the wild year-round, and are often spotted alone or in flocks around coastal regions, estuaries, swamps, and fish farms.

The birds typically lay one to three eggs in a nest, and both the male and female little terns take turns in incubating them, the OCA said.

According to the administration, the little tern is a protected species in Taiwan.

Anyone caught disturbing, hunting, or killing little terns could face criminal charges under the Wildlife Conservation Act, the OCA warned as it urged the public to avoid engaging in activities that could harm these birds.

(By Tseng Yi-ning and Ko Lin)

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