Fairy Terns (Sternula nereis) are threatened in Victoria, with the number of breeding pairs estimated to be less than 150 and declining. Suitable nesting sites along shorelines and coastal beaches are becoming increasingly limited due to habitat loss and modification, and their availability varies between years. As areas become less suitable for nesting, sub-optimal or hazardous sites are utilised by breeding pairs, impacting their breeding success. Furthermore, the nesting behaviours of Fairy Terns expose them to a variety of threats, including human disturbance, nest inundation and predation (either by invasive animals or from domestic pets).
BirdLife Australia commenced the Fairy Tern Project in Victoria in 2016, with the aim of improving the suitability of nesting sites. This project focuses on the monitoring of the Fairy Terns breeding success and the ecological characteristics of key sites, particularly within Western Port and Port Phillip Bay. Remedial work will be undertaken where appropriate. It is hoped that by improving the quality of Fairy Tern breeding habitat, greater opportunities for breeding will be provided and in turn, their limited numbers will bolster.
The Fairy Tern project hopes to see Fairy Terns persist and thrive in Western Port and Port Phillip Bays, but this is unlikely to occur without the continued monitoring and protection of their breeding and roosting sites.
During the breeding season, volunteers are needed to monitor Fairy Tern nesting colonies throughout Western Port and Port Phillip Bay. For more information about the Fairy Tern project, or to get involved, please contact Amy Adams at email@example.com, or on 03 9347 0757.