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4101 CK Culemborg
the Netherlands
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Broedpontons visdief

Pontoons for breeding terns

Pontoons for terns in Lake Marker

Pontoons have been used in Lake Marker as artificial breeding islands for terns. In 2014, these pontoons were home to 36 pairs of common terns with 50 chicks being ringed. In 2015, numbers increased to more than 55 breeding pairs. 

These so-called "Tern hotels" have also been installed in 2016. This year however, an innovative monitoring program has been initiated to provide more information on breeding success and foraging behaviour.

Marker stepping stone

In 2013 and 2014 an experiment was carried out to provide common terns with resting and breeding sites on floating structures. This was undertaken as part of the research program Natural Lake Marker/IJssel (Natuurlijk(er) Markermeer-IJmeer (NMIJ)) of the Dutch governmental department Rijkswaterstaat and was carried out in collaboration with de Vries & van de Wiel, BWZ ingenieurs and Grontmij.

Ecological requirements of breeding sites

The pontoons were designed and developed based on the requirements of breeding common terns. Based on the success of the breeding terns in 2014, the pontoons were installed again in 2015. The pontoons provide alternative breeding sites during a project to strengthen the dyke around lake and form an important part of the compensation measures.

Better monitoring

In order to be able to better assess the breeding success on the pontoons a camera has been installed during the 2016 season. This remotely operated camera provides images from the pontoons day and night, giving unrivalled information from within the breeding colony without disturbance to the birds. Through the use of the zoom and high-resolution images rings can be read, nests counted and prey items seen. We also hope to be able to follow the fate of the young so that these habitats can be improved further still.