Back to News
e-Bulletin: 2023 Common Tern Report

Welcome to the first e-Bulletin from The Friends of Presqu'ile  Park.  We will be sending members, volunteers, and  supporters these quick news bulletins on topics of interest on a regular basis.  Each bulletin will focus on one area of our work in support of our mission and vision.

In this first issue, we will focus on one of our key environmental initiatives in support of the preservation of the Common Tern.

2023: Our Most Successful Year for Common Tern Survival

The Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) is a waterbird, about the  size of a Blue Jay, that winters off the coast of Peru, but returns to the islands off Presqu'ile to breed. These birds once numbered over 10,000 but the population  declined dramatically since the 1980's, resulting in only about 100 nests per year.

Predator exclusion  grid on  High Bluff Island

For the past 10 years, The Friends of Presqu'ile has been supporting  the work of Penn State scientists Dr. Jennifer Arnold and Dr. Stephen Oswald in  their efforts to rebuild the population of Common Terns by protecting the nests using exclusion grids. These structures protect the eggs and chicks by keeping predators such as the Black-crowned Night Herons away from the colonies.

The park first started using predator exclusion grids in 2014.  Over the past decade, new tools and techniques have resulted in vast improvement in the number of young Common Terns fledged. 2023 was our most successful year to date.  You can read the complete report from the research team below. You can read past reports and watch a video produced by the researchers on our webpage about Common Tern Research.