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Beach partiers devastate major colony of endangered least terns by scaring off adults, moving eggs

Beachgoers in Alabama who descended on the breeding ground of a threatened seabird species this summer scared adults away from their nests and used the eggs to decorate the sand, most likely killing hundreds of chicks, wildlife experts say.

The exact number of least tern birds that died in Mobile Bay is unknown, but it was “a tragic loss of a colony that size,” said Katie Barnes, a senior biologist at Birmingham Audubon who oversees the protection, monitoring and surveying of Alabama’s coastal bird species.



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