We recorded banded Roseate Terns (Sterna dougallii) and unbanded individuals mated to banded individuals in May and the first third of June in 2001 and 2002 to quantify post spring migration prospecting by this species at Falkner Island, Connecticut, USA. In 2001, more than one quarter: 34/125 (27.2%) of those observed by 19 May and 38/150 (25.3%) of those observed by 25 May did not remain at this colony site and went elsewhere to attempt breeding. In 2002, fewer terns were observed by 19 May, but an even higher percentage: 11/28 (39.3%) of those seen by 19 May and 58/151 (38.4%) of those seen by 25 May did not stay and nest. Our results demonstrate that a substantial proportion of the earliest arriving individuals at this site are prospecting and gathering information about local conditions before making a decision about going elsewhere to nest.
Additional publication details
Post-spring migration colony-site prospecting by Roseate Terns (Sterna dougallii)