Date: 7/28/20 7:37 am
From: Sean Murtha via CTBirds <ctbirds...>
Subject: [CT Birds] Cockenoe Island terns

As several birders have chimed in about the abandonment of the tern colony at Cockenoe, I want to re-iterate that my suspicion of high Spring Tides being the culprit is merely that- a suspicion. We have been checking in on it frequently, but not with scientific regularity- and viewing by kayak is challenging at best, as the vantage point is low and unsteady (we never land or get out)- so getting a clear picture of breeding success is indirect- adults returning with food, and young birds wandering from the nesting area. We missed the prior weekend, but another ebird report indicates that the colony was thriving. That sudden change within a week, coinciding with the New Moon on Tuesday and some heavy storms on Wednesday, led to my conclusion.

That said, the stresses on these birds from pleasure-boaters and environmental factors such as fish abundance are immense, and cannot be discounted. It would be interesting to know how other area colonies are doing.

-Sean Murtha, Norwalk
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