Did you know that least terns play a crucial role in San Diego’s local ecosystem?
These birds are a vital part of healthy “coastal dune” habitat, which buffer the communities from sea level rise, reduce coastal erosion, and support plants that help shrink carbon emissions. While this endangered species has rebounded since the 1970s, they still remain fragile. Warmer ocean temps can reduce their food source, invasive plants crowd out their nests, and urban predators threaten their young.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service warns that if the terns’ nesting sites throughout California are not thoroughly protected, managed and monitored, habitat loss and predators could reverse the recent population recovery. Every year, San Diego Audubon volunteers donate more than 2,000 hours to remove invasive weeds and make these sites tern-ready before the birds arrive to breed in mid-April.