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Caspian Tern Survey 2011-2013

During 1971-75 and 1991-95 surveys of Caspian tern colonies were conducted by Birds New Zealand members to count the number of breeding pairs. The results of these surveys were recently published (Bell and Bell, Notornis 55: 84-88, 2008) and showed that between this period Caspian tern numbers have been relatively stable (1300-1400 breeding pairs) but there was some movement in colony location. Attached is a table showing the locations of known colonies during the 1971-75 and 1991-95 surveys.

Since 1991-95 there has been considerable change in coastal New Zealand. There is accelerated coastal development, increased access to isolated beaches through more widespread ownership of four wheel drive vehicles, and increased leisure time. These factors are likely to be impacting on coastal breeding birds and a survey of breeding Caspian terns after another twenty year period would provide an excellent case study to monitor these effects.

The study will be carried out in a similar way to the previous surveys, which will be co-ordinated through Regional Representatives with guidance and assistance from the Caspian Tern Survey Co-ordinator. Results will be collected on standardised survey forms (see form attached). Survey forms will be available on the Birds New Zealand website and from RR’s.

Detailed methods and instructions, a survey form and locations of Caspian tern colonies, as well as a report of last year’s efforts, are available for download below.

Caspian Tern Survey Instructions
Caspian Tern Survey Form
Location of Caspian Tern Colonies
Caspian Tern Census Report 2012