Least tern

07/28/2012 5:00 AM

07/28/2012 3:13 PM

LEAST TERN

Sternula antillarum

Wichita’s least tern population didn’t show much growth this year. Again.

After being gone for many years, the endangered birds returned to the area in 2000, nesting on sandbars on the Arkansas River and other sandy areas near water.

This year, biologists found up to 10 adult pairs using a sandbar on the river north of K-96. Of eight nests, six nests hatched eggs.

It’s believed 15 fledglings came from 20 hatched eggs. In 2010 about 30 young terns fledged.

Biologists aren’t sure why the local nesting colonies don’t increase their populations. It’s possible the birds are nesting in unknown areas.

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