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The Use of Decoys, Sound Recordings, and Gull Control for Re-Establishing a Tern Colony in Maine
Stephen W. Kress
Vol. 6 (1983), pp. 185-196
Published by: Waterbird Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1520987
Page Count: 12
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To re-establish breeding Arctic Terns, (Sterna paradisaea) on Eastern Egg Rock (Knox Co., Maine), breeding populations of Great Black-backed Gulls (Larus marinus) and Herring Gulls (L. argentatus) were eliminated and social attractants (Arctic Tern decoys and sound recordings of nonaggressive tern vocalizations) were used to attract terns to this former nesting site. Herring Gull populations were significantly reduced after the first summer of control efforts and Great Black-backed Gulls were significantly reduced after three summers of control by poisoning, shooting, egg and chick destruction and human disturbance. Common Eider (Somateria mollissima) and Black Guillemot (Cepphus grylle) populations have remained constant despite nine years of gull control and human occupation on the island. In the first year of using decoys and sound recordings, tern sightings nearly doubled in frequency and in the third year of using these attractants, Arctic Terns and Common Terns (Sterna hirundo) nested in the immediate vicinity of the decoys and playback speaker. Roseate Terns (S. dougallii) joined the colony in 1981. By 1982 Eastern Egg Rock supported the largest Common Tern colony in Maine. The relative importance of gull control, decoys, and sound recordings cannot be determined from this study, however, the re-establishment of breeding terms on Eastern Egg Rock demonstrates that tern populations may be restored through an integrated program of gull control and social attractants. These techniques offer opportunities for re-establishing terns on historic, remote locations where they are safer from the increased predation, flooding, and human disturbance often characteristic of sites adjacent to mainlands.
Colonial Waterbirds © 1983 Waterbird Society