The fledged tern, a migratory seabird that nests starting in April on Isla Contoy, has suffered a decrease in the number of birds that migrate to this natural protected area, as well as in the number of survivors.
Jonathan Rubén Nochebuena Jaramillo, director of the Mexican Association for the Conservation of Birds and their Habitats (AMCAH), pointed out that in 2021 and 2022, around 25 pairs of this species were detected on Isla Contoy migrating each year, after approximately 60 pairs of this species were monitored in 2019.
In the last two years, of the nearly 25 pairs that nested on the island and had chicks, only about 15 hatchlings per year managed to grow to take flight, due to factors such as predation by other birds, such as the stilt or the gull, climate change and rising tides that affect their nests.
“In April they arrive to start their reproductive period, subsequently they start looking for a mate, bringing out their best dances, fishing and taking their best fish to the female, and when they find her they lay only one egg. The egg takes approximately 23 days to hatch, it takes another 15 days to grow and fly away,” he explained.
He added that near the Caribbean there are up to 12 species of terns out of 65 neotropical migratory birds that pass through Isla Contoy.
These birds nest on islets or around the island, but due to the stress to which their migration has been subjected, the campaign Ayudemos al Charrán Embridado will be implemented for this month.
“The campaign is on the online platform donadora.org. The goal is to raise 32 thousand pesos to establish environmental education programs in the region, and to raise awareness of the importance of the flanged tern. The monitoring program has been in place for up to four years, but it needs to be reinforced in order to make conservation plans,” he said.
He added that part of the studies of the birds involves marking them so that when they return to their roosting areas, other people can report how the birds are moving. The monitoring takes place every 15 days.
“It is an elegant species, it has a very important life cycle because it comes from North America to reproduce. The Caribbean is an important place for them to reproduce and finish their life cycle…”, he said.
Isla Contoy is located in the site of migratory routes of the Mississippi and the Atlantic, and in those routes more than 90 species of birds pass, and from there they spread to South America or stay in the Caribbean to spend the winter, and return at the end of February to North America.