Saturday, February 25, 2012
Terns, La Jolla Shores Beach, San Diego, CA
California least tern is a subspecies of the least tern that breeds on Atlantic East Coast from Maine to Florida. The California least tern is a migratory bird that breeds primarily in the bays of the Pacific Ocean, and is federally listed as an endangered species.
The number have gradually increased from 582 breeding pairs in 1974 with its protected status, but these migratory birds are still vulnerable to natural disasters or further disturbance by man.These small migratory birds once nested widely along the central and southern California coast and the Pacific coast of Mexico. Nesting today however is limited to colonies in San Francisco Bay, Sacramento river delta, and areas along the coast from San Luis Obispo county to San Diego County. The greatest concentration of breeding pairs nest in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego Counties.
CA least tern is a small seabird, measuring 10 inches in length and a 30 inch wingspan when fully grown. They have black-capped and black-tipped head. They have pale gray wings, white body, yellow bill and yellowish feet. They feed in shallow estuaries or lagoons where small fish are abundant, such as smelt, anchovies, silversides and other small nearshore prey.