Wildlife enthusiasts who covered the craggy island with hundreds of nesting boxes helped save one of Europe’s most endangered seabirds.
Successors to a 33-year project on tiny Rocaville Island off the coast of Dublin have increased the breeding pair of roseate terns by a factor of ten.
Rokaville, about the size of a football pitch, is home to 85% of Europe’s roseate terns.
In 1989, BirdWatch Ireland realized that every patch of uninhabited rockabilly potential nesting site was important and decided to give the birds a helping hand.
Using simple timber nesting boxes tucked into the ground in more barren parts of the island, they mimic the gaps natural rocks provide and the birds need to protect their eggs and chicks from frequent wind and rain. Did.
Conservationists and scientists at Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin, who are monitoring the project, have declared it a success.
When the project began in 1989, there were 180 breeding pairs on the island, but there are now 1,800 breeding breeding groups, whose offspring help boost two small colonies in Wexford and England.
Children from local schools, especially those at Balburigan Community College, help build boxes that are checked annually and replaced as needed.
Birds will quickly take you to a woodworking classroom home that offers more shelter than nature provides.
“There are over 700 boxes, and every box is full,” said Dr. Darren O’Connell, who co-authored a paper on the project published today in the journal. Ecological evidence and solutions.
“More experienced birds tend to go to rock crevices and fill them in first, but nest boxes give young birds a chance for successful breeding.
“Conservation has a philosophical challenge. You may be sabotaging the system in some way in an attempt to protect it, but that’s the challenge these birds face with their interference with their natural habitat.” are being compared with.
“They had many colonies around England and Ireland, but rats and cats have been let loose on the islands and there aren’t many options anymore, so it’s important to maximize the space available.”
Brian Burke, BirdWatch Ireland’s Head of Science, co-author of the paper and lead practitioner, has been checking the colony with a team of conservationists for months over the past three years.
As the photo shows, it doesn’t take long for the rangers to camouflage themselves thanks to the copious amounts of bird droppings.
Dr. O’Connell said, “I just looked at the data. Brian did some tough yardage. You have a ‘Rocaville Court.’ ‘ said.
Mr. Burke has no complaints. “Rokaville is a wonderful place and we are very fortunate to have an internationally important seabird colony right on our capital city,” he said.
“The job of a tern wardens is hard but rewarding. Nothing beats seeing young terns all over the island at the end of the summer.”
The project is funded by the National Parks and Wildlife Service and is being studied by conservationists in the UK and France who hope to strengthen a small colony of roseate terns.