The Return of the Tern - Chichester Harbour
Chichester Harbour Conservancy's decoy, or 'fake' terns made a guest appearance on 'People Fixing the World', a BBC World Service podcast this month. Nature recovery project officer, Jess Vagg explained the role of the decoy birds as part of the 'Return of The Tern' project which aims to boost the numbers of terns visiting and breeding in Chichester Harbour.
Three species of Tern visit the harbour; Common Tern, Little Tern and Sandwich Tern. Populations of the birds have dramatically decreased in recent years, attributed to high sea levels coupled with the force of strong tides or storms destroying nesting sites. The Return of the Tern project aims to provide new nesting habitats for terns in the form of rafts and increasing the elevation of a shingle island above the highest tides. Decoy birds placed in these locations are a visual signal to visiting Terns that these are safe nesting places - and their success has been demonstrated by the fledging of over 100 Common Terns within Chichester Harbour since 2019.
Jess Vagg of Chichester Harbour Conservancy being interviewed for the BBC World Service podcast (Image: Chichester Harbour Conservancy)