Least Tern Bird

Castillo Bird Nesting Platforms

Coastal Resources Group worked with the National Key Deer Refuge and Audubon of Florida in 2016 to implement the construction of shorebird nesting platforms at the Castillo Pit, Big Pine Key, Florida Keys. The project’s purpose was to provide alternative nesting sites for the federally listed threatened roseate tern (Sterna dougallii) and state listed threatened least tern (Sternula antillarum). Both species have suffered from the loss of nesting habitat in the Keys due to development, disturbance, and recent building practices that favor hardening roof tops in lieu of using gravel. Our team worked with partners and stakeholders for the construction of two 24 feet by 50 feet gravel-top bird nesting platforms placed at a height of 15 feet. The height of the platforms was designed to attract tern species and provide protection from predators such as feral cats, raccoons, and iguanas. This design was unprecedented and provides important information for future artificial nest creation opportunities. Recent monitoring has documented over 100 nests on the platforms.