City does birds a good tern
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.
Australian fairy terns nesting in the Mandurah Ocean Marina last summer.