KQED: A Tale of Two Tern Towns in the Bay Area, August 1, 2014


It takes a lot to establish and maintain these protected breeding areas. As ground nesters, least terns have many bird and mammal predators. I recently talked with Dave Riensche (affectionately known as “Doc Quack”), the East Bay Regional Park District’s (EBRPD) wildlife biologist who manages the Hayward colony, and Susan Euing, wildlife biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) who monitors the Alameda Point colony. Alameda has the larger of the two colonies, first noticed in 1976 when the Navy was still actively landing planes in the area. The Alameda colony is having a great hatch year with 78% success rate, up from an average of 72% over the last 7 years. The colony’s success is attributed to intensive predator monitoring by a large group of volunteers along with favorable fishing conditions. The open bay habitat surrounding Alameda provides a diversity of small fish for the adults and chicks.