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Volunteers needed to paint Common Tern decoys, Friday April 1

March 24th, 2011 | Posted by admin

Save The River and the Thousand Islands Land Trust are looking for volunteers to assist with painting Common Tern decoys for the Common Tern Monitoring Program on Friday, April 1st at 9 a.m. at the Land Trust offices in Clayton. The decoys will be used during the upcoming nesting season to help attract Common Terns to nesting grounds.

All materials will be provided. Interested volunteers should RSVP as decoys are limited. To RSVP call the Save The River office, 315-686-2010 or e-mail Sarah Walsh.

decoys ready for painting-copy

Decoys await a coat of paint.

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Tern Season Comes to a Close

August 23rd, 2010 | Posted by admin

This summer was a successful one for terns on the River, with numbers at an all time high on the River as a whole. Save The River volunteers worked very hard this season along with our conservation partners the Thousand Island Land Trust (TILT) to increase avaiable nesting habitat on the River for terns as well as keeping close watch on these special little birds over the nesting season.

babies 7.1.10 at 213

Just last week, volunteers from Save The River and TILT took down two exclusion grids on the Eagle Wing Group and Tidd Island. Both sites are gridded annually with a wire net at waist height that keeps the nesting terns safe from gulls and other birds that feed and harass terns. The removal of the grids is the end of nesting season on the River and both organizations are already working on habitat restoration initiatives for next year to ensure the continued population increase for the New York State Threatened Species.

To read and learn more about tern populations on the River this year read the Watertown Daily Times recent article.

To learn more about the grid removal project check out Channel 7’s news coverage of this project.

Need more background? Check out our Common Tern Monitoring page and listen to North Country Public Radios report on this project.

Special thanks to all the volunteers who assisted in this year’s Common Tern Monitoring Program. We are looking forward to another successful year of tern farming next year.

1 phot by bill munro

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Tern Grids to Come Down as Season Draws to a Close; Volunteer Help Needed

August 2nd, 2010 | Posted by admin

Save The River’s Common Tern Monitoring Program draws to a close for another season. It was a successful year of habitat restoration on our sites and our volunteers did an excellent job conducting their annual monitoring on all seven of our nesting sites.

In preparation for the closing of the season Save The River and the Thousand Islands Land Trust are gearing up to remove the exclusion grids that are installed annually on the Eagle Wing Shoals and Tidd Island.

The exclusion grid is a cross hatching of poly wire that is strung across the surface of the shoal. The lines are placed far enough apart to allow for terns to land on the shoal but close enough together to prevent other birds such as gulls from landing. This keeps the terns safe from predation by gulls and allows them to successfully nest, raising their young and adding to this New York State Threatened population.

Grid removal will be on Tuesday, August 10th starting at 9 a.m. Interested volunteers should call Save The River, 315-686-2010 to let us know you are coming. Volunteers will be leaving from the Thousand Islands Land Trust office at 9 a.m. that morning.

1 phot by bill munro

Volunteers assist this past spring with a clearing of Tidd Island in preparation for the coming nesting season. Photo by Bill Munro.

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Attention Volunteers! Hold the Date – Volunteer Appreciation Event August 12th

July 16th, 2010 | Posted by admin

Mark your calendars!

Save The River will be hosting our annual Volunteer Appreciation event on Thursday, August 12th from 5-7 p.m. at the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority Rift Camp.

All Save The River volunteers are invited to join us for dinner and drinks as we thank and celebrate over 200 volunteers that make all of our programming happen, from marking shoals to monitoring angry terns to patrolng the River as Riverkeeper Volunteers. We will also be honoring our Volunteer of the Year Award recipients.

Stay tuned for your mailed invitation and more event details. We hope to see you there!

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Save The River makes way for terns

June 3rd, 2010 | Posted by admin

It is spring here on the River and Save The River has been busy preparing for the return of the Common Tern to the River. This small water bird is a New York State threatened species and has needed a little help over the years to keep populations healthy on the St. Lawrence River.

Save The River volunteers along with project partners the Thousand Islands Land Trust and Dr. Lee Harper of the Massena Bird Observatory recently erected exclusion grids on two shoals on the River to protect these birds from harassment from gulls and other water birds.

To read more about this project check out a recent article in the Watertown Daily Times.

Or listen to North Country Public Radio’s recent coverage of Save The River’s Common Tern Program.

To learn more about Save The River’s Common Tern Monitoring Program visit our Common Tern webpage.

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NCPR Covers Tern Story

May 14th, 2009 | Posted by admin

This morning, North Country Public Radio‘s David Sommerstein covered Save The River’s Common Tern Monitoring Program spring project on Tidd Island. The project is a collaborative effort between Save The River and the Thousand Islands Land Trust that reclaims important nesting habitat for the New York State threatened Common Tern. Staff from both organization were joined by volunteers to install a gull exclusion grid on Tidd Island in an effort to reclaim this historic nesting habitat for terns.

Check out the story to hear the report, view a slide show of project photos, and listen to a story from 2002 on the tern program.

Special thanks to all the volunteers who helped to make this project happen as well as to those businesses who donated in-kind goods for the project!!!

Greene Structures

White’s Lumber

1000 Islands Ready Mix

Reinman’s Department Store

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A Sign of Spring – the Tern Grid Goes Up!

April 21st, 2009 | Posted by admin

As part of Save The River’s ongoing partnership with the Thousand Islands Land Trust, staff from both organizations were joined by a group of hardy volunteers last week to get two area shoals ready for tern nesting.

Eagle Wings Grid Goes Up Again

Since 2003, an exclusion grid has been set up on the Eagle Wings shoal, which is between Governors and Grindstone Islands, across the River from Clayton. Along with the installation of nesting boxes and chick shelters, the grid helps to improve the chances that the terns will nest successfully.

The grid will help terns establish a nesting colony on the shoal by preventing other waterbirds such as gulls, cormorants, geese and heron from landing on the nests and feeding on the eggs and chicks. While the terns guard their colonies fiercely, they are no match for the increasing gull and cormorant populations on the river.

Tern Grid Eagle Wings Spring 09

New Grid on Tidd

Tidd Island, located upriver of Thousand Islands Park, is another historic tern nesting site that has not been heavily used by terns in many years. This spring, Save The River and Thousand Islands Land Trust erected a new exclusion grid on this TILT property to help protect tern nests and chicks from predators, reclaiming this habitat once again for Common Terns.

With the addition of Tidd Island to the program, we hope to increase Common Tern nesting populations in the region.

Partnerships At Work

The Common Tern habitat protection and monitoring program is only possible due to the strong partnerships forged over the years. Many thanks to the following:

Dr. Lee Harper – Dr. Harper of the Massena Bird Observatory is our tern guru, providing technical expertise for the program as well as collecting data from our volunteers each season to produce an annual report that assesses tern populations on the St. Lawrence and provide important information about the region’s tern populations for the State of New York.

Parks Canada – Parks Canada staff install an exclusion grid each spring on Ice Island on the Canadian side of the River and monitor it regularly. Their efforts on Ice Island have helped to reclaim habitat for Common Terns and provide data on a significant tern colony on the River.

Volunteers – Our volunteers help set up the grids and nesting boxes. They also brave the elements and wade through lots of tern poop each summer to monitor tern nests and fledgling success.

Whites Lumber – Thanks to White’s Lumber for donating hardware for the project.

Reinman’s Department Store – Thanks to Reinman’s for the donation of hardware and landscaping fabric for the project.

1000 Islands Ready Mix – Thanks to 1000 Islands Ready Mix for the donation of pea gravel for this project.

Greene Structures – Thanks to Greene Structures for ferrying staff out to Tidd Island for some late winter reconnaissance and donating technical expertise and equipment for the drilling of this new site.
Tidd Recon Winter 09
Andy Greene, with Greene Structures, and Save The River staffer Sarah Walsh prepare to head out to visit Tidd Island in late winter.

Stay tuned for updates throughout the spring and early summer to learn more about how the River’s Common Tern colonies are doing this year!

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Common Tern Monitoring Featured on Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs

March 29th, 2009 | Posted by admin

As our Common Tern Monitoring volunteers know, monitoring terns can be a dirty job. Adult birds often dive bomb you while you are on sight and there is definitely lots of projectile excrement involved. The job is SO dirty that it was featured on the Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs show.

The tern nesting site featured on the show is actually located in Ohio, where Common Terns are actually endangered and features an interesting habitat restoration project. It’s an excellent look at what tern monitoring is all about. Enjoy! And thank you to our dedicated volunteers here on the River that volunteer to complete a very important, very dirty job.

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Clayton, NY 13624

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