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October 17, 2014

For Part One:
Last time the focus was on the crows. Now we’ll take a look at the terns.  The Venice Tern Colony (at the Marina Del Rey breakwater) has been challenged by dwindeling food sources such as sardines that have disappeared from local shores or are  so far out to sea that tern parents must leave their chicks unattended for hours while they hunt.

This year, false tern eggs were planted at the site that gave crows a mild shock as an aversion tactic.

Last year, no chicks survived. This year-

-after getting off to a slow start, the chicks that hatched were banded, weighed and measured. But first – the chicks had to be caught by hand-
A fleeing tern fledgling can move pretty quickly, and it sometimes takes several tries to get the little guys. They sit in a net bag or a box waiting for their turn–ChicksInNetBag


Next the tern chicks are carefully hand held, in waiting for photographing and banding–WaitingToBand

The bands are placed on the leg, and the band numbers and colors are recorded–BandingChicks


Next the chicks’ wings are measured.WingMeasure
Once the chick is banded and it’s details taken, it is set all too willingly free. But after a week or two, the same chick may be corralled, and it’s growth and progress can be monitored, as in the case of this recaptured chick-

They soon start to look more like their parents-


And get ready to fly off into the world-DSCN2735
Ultimately, over 60 chicks were born this year.
Whether this is due to the right fish closer to shore or the electrified egg experament is unclear. But next year’s season looks very promising.

Meanwhile, CrowChicksthe next generation of crows are being born and fledged at the same time as the tern chicks….

To volunteer as a crow and tern monitor at the Venice Beach Tern Colony, contact The 2015 breeding season promises to be an exciting one.

All photos taken by me during the 2014 breeding season.
Laurel Hoctor Jones, Education Chair

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