Least Tern

Least Tern Main Page Photo
Photo: Mad River Decoy

Solid injection molded polyethylene
¼” hole for dowel (not included

This is the decoy that started it all.  In 1990 Mad River Decoy was contracted to make 900 Least Tern decoys for the US Navy and Department of Defense to relocate Least Terns that were getting killed while nesting on the runways at North Island Naval Air Station, San Diego, CA.  Clearly, the birds needed a safer and more suitable nesting alternative!  To this end, 20 acres of the air station were fenced off and made in to desirable nesting habitat.  Decoys were placed in the area as enticement and Least Terns left the runways and took up residence in their new “home”.  The project goal was to have 1,200 breeding pairs; in 2005 it was estimated there were 8,000 breeding pairs!

The project was so successful that other agencies and organizations including the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Vandenberg Air Force Base and municipalities in California set up similar programs.  Over 15 agencies in California alone are using Least Tern decoys for re-establishing or moving colonies. We have Least Tern decoys in projects in Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Texas and England. In one of the Florida projects, the Navy was establishing nesting habitat on one of their gravel-roofed buildings in Panama City.

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