Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 31

O

NCE DECLARED EXTIRPATED
in Pennsylvania, common terns
again are nesting here, and this could
be the year they again produce young
at Presque Isle State Park's Gull Point.
For the second straight year, common
terns nested at Gull Point in 2015.
But like 2014, and during other nesting attempts there in 2012 and 1999, none
of the nests produced a single chick.
Still, it's encouraging that this species,
which is at the southern end of its North
American range in Pennsylvania, and had
long been listed as a state-endangered
species before being declared stateextirpated in 1985, has become a frequent
seasonal visitor.
And, with any luck, 2016 will be the
year a Pennsylvania-born common tern
takes flight.
Back in the 1930s, common terns
nested by the hundreds on Gull Point.
But as the point changed, the terns left
and didn't return for decades.
When a pair returned in 1999 for a
Gull Point nesting attempt in which the
eggs were destroyed, the common tern
was upgraded to a state-endangered
species.
The primary culprits of their nesting
failures have been flooding and predators.
Common terns actually are pretty
common in the Great Lakes region, of
which Pennsylvania has only a toehold
through its limited stretch of Lake Erie
shoreline, which came to the Commonwealth through a 1792 land deal with
Native Americans.
Some of what has given common terns
renewed opportunity in Pennsylvania is
the fact Gull Point was restored to make
it more agreeable to common terns, and
state-endangered piping plovers - a joint
initiative driven by the state Department

MAY 2016

of Conservation and Natural Resources,
federal Army Corps of Engineers, Audubon Pennsylvania, Western Pennsylvania
Conservancy and the Game Commission.
Through the effort, the beaches were
cleared of exotic plants and human disturbances. And the birds returned.
The 25 to 30 common terns inhabiting
Gull Point came close to hatching eggs
last year, according to Patti Barber, an
endangered-bird biologist with the Game
Commission.
"They re-nested several times," Barber
said. "Some even got within a few days
of hatching. But none hatched."
What the terns need, Barber emphasized, is more common terns on Gull
Point. More nesting birds increase the
colony's chances.
"You need critical mass for the colony
to be successful," Barber said.
The 2015 nesting effort might have
fared better with more cooperative
weather in June and July, explained Mary
Birdsong, a seasonal shorebird monitor
for Audubon Pennsylvania at Presque
Isle State Park.
"As July began, it became clear that
the colony was trying very hard to be
successful," Birdsong reported in the
Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology's
quarterly magazine, Pennsylvania Birds.
"Pairs would create nests and then lose
them and then they would start again. By
mid-July, more high winds and storms,
and predation, had taken all but one nest.
"On July 15, near noon, all common
terns left the point. The one remaining
nest apparently abandoned."
But with better conditions on Gull
Point, the future holds promise for
common terns at their budding outpost,
and maybe for the first time in decades,
common terns will nest successfully in
Pennsylvania.
31



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016

Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - Intro
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 2
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 7
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 8
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 9
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 10
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 11
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 12
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 13
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 14
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 15
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 16
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 17
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 18
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 19
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 21
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 22
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 23
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 24
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 27
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 28
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 29
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 30
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 31
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 32
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 33
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 34
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 35
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 36
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 37
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 38
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Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 60
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 61
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 62
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - 64
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - May 2016 - Cover4
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