Alabama beachgoers may have killed hundreds of least terns

Beachgoers in Alabama may have killed thousands of least tern chicks.©Kenneth Cole Schneider

Hundreds of least tern chicks may have been killed at a shoal on Alabama’s Mobile Bay earlier this summer after beachgoers arrived at a breeding ground, scaring adults from their nests and using their eggs to decorate the sand, the New York Times reports. Biologists said they confirmed only 85 fledglings out of 1,400 birds at the site in August. “That’s an astronomical loss for reproductive output for the species,” Katie Barnes, a senior biologist at Birmingham Audubon, told the Times. Audubon members who investigated said they found a volleyball net at the site and 26 eggs placed in a circle, including some that were in the process of hatching.

Read more in the New York Times.