As part of Save The River’s ongoing partnership with the Thousand Islands Land Trust, staff from both organizations were joined by a group of hardy volunteers last week to get two area shoals ready for tern nesting.
Eagle Wings Grid Goes Up Again
Since 2003, an exclusion grid has been set up on the Eagle Wings shoal, which is between Governors and Grindstone Islands, across the River from Clayton. Along with the installation of nesting boxes and chick shelters, the grid helps to improve the chances that the terns will nest successfully.
The grid will help terns establish a nesting colony on the shoal by preventing other waterbirds such as gulls, cormorants, geese and heron from landing on the nests and feeding on the eggs and chicks. While the terns guard their colonies fiercely, they are no match for the increasing gull and cormorant populations on the river.
New Grid on Tidd
Tidd Island, located upriver of Thousand Islands Park, is another historic tern nesting site that has not been heavily used by terns in many years. This spring, Save The River and Thousand Islands Land Trust erected a new exclusion grid on this TILT property to help protect tern nests and chicks from predators, reclaiming this habitat once again for Common Terns.
With the addition of Tidd Island to the program, we hope to increase Common Tern nesting populations in the region.
Partnerships At Work
The Common Tern habitat protection and monitoring program is only possible due to the strong partnerships forged over the years. Many thanks to the following:
Dr. Lee Harper - Dr. Harper of the Massena Bird Observatory is our tern guru, providing technical expertise for the program as well as collecting data from our volunteers each season to produce an annual report that assesses tern populations on the St. Lawrence and provide important information about the region’s tern populations for the State of New York.
Parks Canada – Parks Canada staff install an exclusion grid each spring on Ice Island on the Canadian side of the River and monitor it regularly. Their efforts on Ice Island have helped to reclaim habitat for Common Terns and provide data on a significant tern colony on the River.
Volunteers – Our volunteers help set up the grids and nesting boxes. They also brave the elements and wade through lots of tern poop each summer to monitor tern nests and fledgling success.
Whites Lumber - Thanks to White’s Lumber for donating hardware for the project.
Reinman’s Department Store – Thanks to Reinman’s for the donation of hardware and landscaping fabric for the project.
1000 Islands Ready Mix – Thanks to 1000 Islands Ready Mix for the donation of pea gravel for this project.
Greene Structures – Thanks to Greene Structures for ferrying staff out to Tidd Island for some late winter reconnaissance and donating technical expertise and equipment for the drilling of this new site.
Andy Greene, with Greene Structures, and Save The River staffer Sarah Walsh prepare to head out to visit Tidd Island in late winter.
Stay tuned for updates throughout the spring and early summer to learn more about how the River’s Common Tern colonies are doing this year!