Status and Trends of Colonially—Nesting Birds in Barnegat Bay

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2001
Authors:Burger, J, C. Jenkins, Jr., D, Lesser, F, Gochfeld, M
Journal:Journal of Coastal Research
Date Published:2001
ISBN Number:07490208
Keywords:Ardea, Ardea alba, Ardeidae, Casmerodius, Casmerodius albus, Egretta, Egretta thula, Laridae, Larus, Larus argentatus, Larus cachinnans, Larus fuscus, Larus marinus, Larus vegae, Nycticorax, Nycticorax nycticorax, Plegadis, Plegadis falcinellus, Rynchops, Rynchops niger, Sterna, Sterna antillarum, Sterna forsteri, Sterna hirundo, Sternula, Sternula albifrons, Sternula antillarum, Threskiornithidae
Abstract:Population trends of several species of birds that nest colonially were examined in Barnegat Bay by either yearly census from 1976 to 1999 (common tern Sterna hirundo, Forster's tern Sterna forsterii, black skimmer Rynchops niger, and herring gull Larus argentatus), or by aerial surveys in 1977, 1978, 1979, 1983, 1985, 1989 and 1995 (all other species). Yearly censuses show a significant decline in the number of colonies of common terns and black skimmers, and a significant increase in the number of herring gull colonies, although the adult numbers of herring gulls declined from 1976 to 1999. The aerial surveys indicated a significant decline in the number of adult snowy egrets (Egretta thula) and least terns (Sterna antillarum) from 1977 to 1995, as well as a significant decline in the number of colonies of least terns. There was an increase in the number of colonies and adult great black-backed gulls (Larus marinus), and an increase in the number of colonies of great egret (Casmerodius albus), black-crowned night herons (Nycticorax nycticoras), and glossy ibis (Plegadis falcinellus). The overall decline in the number of active colonies of a number of species is disturbing, and leads to consideration of management options to increase suitable nesting places. Reducing human disturbance, the deposition of dredge spoil, and vegetation removal are the most promising management techniques, along with judicious predator control (including herring and great-black backed gulls) on isolated nesting islands.
Short Title:Journal of Coastal Research
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