Climate change leaves seabirds nowhere to tern

Little tern at nest, wing stretching after incubating.

Little tern at nest, wing stretching after incubating.

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Visitors to Lindisfarne and Beadnell beaches are being urged to give seabirds space to breed undisturbed.

The call comes as part of a major new five-year partnership project which has been established to help secure the future of little terns in the UK

Little terns, the smallest of the tern species in the UK, could become a victim of climate change as rising seas and increased coastal flooding squeeze our coastline.

The dainty little birds, which are no heavier than a tennis ball, return each April to breed on beaches at fewer than 60 sites around the UK.

Traditional colonies at South Gare on the Tees and Donna Nook in Lincolnshire have already been lost, a development which makes protecting traditional breeding sites at Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve and Beadnell Bay all the more important.

Supported by the EU LIFE+ programme, the new project will lay foundations for long-term recovery of the little tern by protecting and creating nest sites and increasing public awareness and support.

A local partnership made up of Natural England, the National Trust, the RSPB and the Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership has recruited Mhairi Maclauchlan as regional co-ordinator for Northumberland.

She will work with local communities and beach-goers along the Northumberland coast to educate them about little terns.

Mhairi said: “Local communities and beachgoers have a vital role to play in helping little terns cope with the increasing threat of climate change.

“These tiny seabirds just need space to breed undisturbed so we are urging visitors to these beaches to avoid entering certain areas while the little terns are breeding.”

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