Coastal Development Threatens Rare Atlantic Shorebird

scientists say coastal building codes should encourage gravel roofs with parapets, or edging at least three, and preferably 12 inches high, as well as screened drains and rain spouts that prevent chicks and eggs from washing down with the water.

Least terns are also nesting on roof-tops off the Carolinas and Florida, but it seems to be a southern trend. Schweitzer recently read about least terns in Maryland using roof-tops but isn't aware of colonies further north that have adopted this lofty survival strategy. And, at this point, roof-tops are a crucial safety net for the species. A study in Florida showed the terns didn't return to sites where graveled roofs had been replaced with vinyl or other materials.

"There's a lot we can do to help the least terns," said Schweitzer, "and they're such amazing little birds, it would be a tremendous loss to let them slip away." -30-


Contact: Helen Fosgate
University of Georgia

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