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Terns Have New Address

September 11, 2004

Re "Paragliders Suspected in Dearth of Least Terns," Sept. 7: As an ornithologist with over 20 years of least tern experience, I can confirm that these birds often leave nests in an attempt to defend them from low-flying aircraft and aerial predators.

Least tern numbers at Ormond Beach began to decline after the creation in 1999 of a new nesting island at the nearby Point Mugu Naval Base. Nest numbers since 1999 have increased over 200% at Point Mugu while decreasing over 45% at Ormond Beach. The greater protection from predators and human disturbance provided for least terns at Point Mugu is likely a major factor in their reduced numbers at Ormond Beach.

Kathy Keane

Long Beach

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