City does birds a good tern

Southern Telegraph - - Telegraph News -

Af­ter last year’s dis­cov­ery of two 20-year-old fairy terns in Man­durah, a new nesting sanc­tu­ary has been es­tab­lished to help pro­tect the threat­ened species.

The project was de­vel­oped to pro­vide a safe breed­ing space af­ter a small colony of the birds nested on a va­cant de­vel­op­ment lot last sea­son, but were fre­quently dis­turbed.

The City of Man­durah and its project part­ners have worked to clear the site and spread shell to pro­vide op­ti­mal nesting con­di­tions, and have in­stalled fenc­ing to dis­cour­age pedes­trian ac­cess and pre­vent chicks from wan­der­ing on to the road or foot­path.

Man­durah Fairy Tern Sanc­tu­ary is in the Man­durah Ocean Ma­rina, on Break­wa­ter Pa­rade, and is ready ahead of the fairy tern breed­ing sea­son, which starts this month.

Mayor Rhys Wil­liams said he un­der­stood the im­por­tance the com­mu­nity placed on the en­vi­ron­ment and said the Man­durah Fairy Tern Sanc­tu­ary was another way the City of Man­durah worked to pro­tect it.

“Man­durah is one of the most im­por­tant re­gions in WA for th­ese threat­ened birds, so it’s great to see pos­i­tive steps to help pro­tect them,” he said.

“A few pairs of fairy terns have al­ready been seen fly­ing over the sanc­tu­ary scout­ing for a nesting site, which is a great sign.

“The sanc­tu­ary is a fab­u­lous ex­am­ple of how work­ing to­gether can de­liver great out­comes for our en­vi­ron­ment and com­mu­nity alike.”

A com­mu­nity-based con­ser­va­tion and cit­i­zen science pro­gram is also in place, led by the Con­ser­va­tion Coun­cil of WA.

Vol­un­teers will mon­i­tor the fairy terns and the sanc­tu­ary and as­sist with re­search tasks, such as leg­band­ing.

Last year, two lo­cal fairy terns were iden­ti­fied via leg bands as be­ing 20 years old, break­ing the record of the old­est known Aus­tralian fairy tern, which was 17.

The Aus­tralian fairy tern is listed as vul­ner­a­ble. In the Peel re­gion, fairy tern breed­ing colonies have been in­con­sis­tent and have de­clined over time, partly be­cause of a lack of se­cure nesting sites.

Picture: Cher­i­lyn Corker

Aus­tralian fairy terns nesting in the Man­durah Ocean Ma­rina last sum­mer.

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