Here is one of those birds that would have been extirpated if not for the Migratory Bird Treaty Act – the Least Tern (Sternula antillarum). One of the focal species of the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds, Least Terns were a target of the millinery (hat-making) trade and market hunting nearly wiped them out. Besides such a direct threat these birds must also be legally protected from harm via unaware beachgoers and unfortunately the select few who still wish to ignorantly hurt them in some way if we want them to make it through the 21st century.
These photos show courtship in progress followed by subsequent copulation and a bird inspecting the nesting area. While we do not have as many Least Terns present as we may like on the Connecticut coast this year due to the mobile nature of their breeding grounds, we hope to have success with those that have joined us in 2015.