California Least Tern Foraging Ecology in Southern California: A Review of Foraging Behavior Relative to Proposed Dredging Locations
ARMY ENGINEER DISTRICT LOS ANGELES CA
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The California least tern Sternula antillarum browni, hereafter CLT, one of three subspecies of Least Tern, nests along the west coast of North America. Foraging occurs in bays, lagoons, estuaries, tidal marshes, river mouths, ponds and lakes, as well as in offshore deep-water habitats by plunge-diving for fish. Fifty species of prey fish have been identified as potential CLT prey. The CLT, listed as endangered by the federal and California Endangered Species Acts, is afforded protection at its nesting sites in California. The relative importance of various foraging areas and foraging habitats near CLT nesting sites has not been evaluated, nor has official protection been designated to any CLT foraging areas, aside from seasonal limits on dredging sites recommended by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service USFWS.