Gull Island Habitat Management Project

November 7, 2013

Presented by Juliana Barrett, CT Sea Grant & Joel Stocker, UConn CLEAR

Great Gull Island, owned by the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), has two species of terns nesting on the island: the Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) with 9,500 pairs and the Roseate Tern (S. dougallii) with 1,300 pairs. This represents the largest concentration of nesting Common Terns in the world, and the largest concentration of nesting Roseate Terns in the Western Hemisphere. Great Gull Island, 17 acres in size, is the site of a former army fort with crumbling battlements and boulders surrounding the edges of the island. The Common Terns use the interior island, while the Roseate Terns nest in the boulders. Vegetation, including many invasive plant species, has overtaken parts of the island causing loss of nesting habitat. Connecticut Sea Grant, CLEAR, and USFWS are working with the AMNH to develop and implement a habitat management plan for this island. This webinar will describe the fascinating history of Great Gull Island and our management efforts to improve tern nesting habitat.

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