Least Terns Flying on Upswing

This summer five individual Least Terns have taken up residence within Sanctuary of Sands, parallel to the Elizabeth Field Airport runway. With their bright yellow bills and black-masked foreheads, these diving birds are smaller than their cousins the Common Terns, which have distinct orange bills.

According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Least Tern populations declined by about 88 percent between 1966 and 2015 and are classified as threatened, endangered, or as a species of concern for most states because of loss of nesting habitat.

Least terns nest in shadow scrapes in sand, soil or pebbles. Please support Fishers Island’s precious shorebirds. Kindly continue to leash all dogs within this delicate and critical habitat.

From the Field, Field Note by Justine Kibbe, July 3, 2019