Little Terns

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Little Terns
From: Jill Dening <>
Date: Tue, 5 Dec 2000 10:39:25 +1100
Hello All,

I just couldn't let this one pass without comment:

"Helping little terns survive battle of the beaches

Date: 04/12/2000

By James Woodford, Environment Writer

A little tern that leaves the nest is one of the luckiest animals on

Survival for the endangered birds, which migrate every spring from the
furthest reaches of the Northern Hemisphere to Australian beaches, has
virtually nothing to do with planning and everything to do with chance."

It is a lovely story, but it gives the impression that those Little Terns which fly from the Northern Hemisphere are the same individuals which breed on the NSW beaches. I have never before heard any suggestion that this is the case, and have always believed that the Northern hemisphere population - the largest population in Australia - breeds in the Northern Hemisphere during the northern summer and then overwinters (our summer) in Australia, just like most of the migratory waders.

The population which breeds in Australia is the threatened SE Aust population.

We get the  southern birds in small numbers in SEQld, but I believe that the greater proportion in our area is the Northern Hemisphere population. Sometimes they are here in their thousands.

As I understand it, there are three populations in Australia:

The Northern Hemisphere population which breeds in the Northern Hemisphere in June/July. I could not imagine that this population would be considered to be endangered.

The northern Australian population which breeds in the Top End during our autumn.

The threatened SEAust population which breeds during our spring/summer.

If anyone has any differing opinion from this, please let me know, best via the list, so that all can be informed.


Jill Dening
Sunshine Coast, Qld
26º 51'        152º 56'

Ph (07) 5494 0994
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