Skip to content

CROW VS. TERN PART I

September 28, 2014

ForagingCrow
TERNS BATLE CROWS: PHOTO RECAP PART I

On Venice Beach near the Marina del Rey breakwater stands a chain-link fence enclosure. It’s empty and silent these early fall days, but a few weeks ago marked the end of a five month drama that unfolds each year between local, year-round resident crows, and seasonal least terns.
DSCN2724

Local biologists and volunteers from around Los Angeles (including Santa Monica Bay Audubon) joined forces this breeding season to try a new way to mitigate predation by crows of least tern eggs and chicks, whose numbers have fallen or been non-existent in recent years.
LMUBanding

First up – the crow’s story – It all starts with banding the local crows–but first they have to be caught. Crows are highly intelligent and have complex social structures which enable them to outwit most enemies, but who can resist free peanuts…

CrowsCaughtByNuts

The nuts are placed in an enclosure that’s easy to fly into but impossible to fly out. From there, the crows are removed to be banded and radio tagged by Loyola Marymount University biologists and Lead Least Tern biologist, Tom Ryan.

BandingACrowGlueOnTailStressedCrow
GlueOnTailCrowBanding
ColoringABand

CrowBandsInWaitingTrackingDevice

StringOfBands

For the first time, artificial tern eggs equipped with a mild shocking device were placed throughout the colony to serve as an aversion technique to discourage crows from predating tern eggs.

BandedCrow
Did it work?

Did the least terns have their first successul breeding season in many years or did the teamwork and intelligence of the crows win out again and end the breeding season with no chicks born? Find out soon in the tern’s story –

CROWS VS. TERNS PHOTO-RECAP PART II

Laurel Hoctor Jones, Education Chair
(All photos taken by me at the Venice Beach Least Tern Colony between April and September 2014)

Advertisements

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: