Dorset Wildlife Trust needs help to maintain habitat for sandwich terns on Brownsea Island

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Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) has launched a Crowdfunder appeal to raise £2,900 to help ensure that sandwich terns can continue to survive on the Brownsea Island Lagoon. 

Sandwich terns survive mostly on nature reserves due to the specific type of habitat they need to live.  Brownsea Island is one of only a few places they live in Dorset.

Sandwich terns breed in colonies on sand and shingle beaches, islands and spits, close to their main food source of sand eels.  On Brownsea Island they live on specially created gravel islands on the lagoon, but DWT need to ensure these islands are maintained to prevent erosion. Recently, shelves have been forming around the sides of the islands, where gravel has fallen away, so young chicks will risk falling into the water and drowning. 

Dorset Wildlife Trust Fundraising Officer, Clare Busby said, “Anything we can do to encourage sandwich terns to roost in the lagoon on Brownsea Island will greatly help increase their numbers and ensure the survival of the species.  In recent years we have found that their numbers are declining, partly due to predation from neighbouring black gulls and sparrow hawks, but also because of habitat decline. These birds really capture the hearts of our visitors we want to get the lagoon in great condition for the start of their next breeding season from next May until September.”

The sandwich tern is currently classified in the UK as amber under the Birds of Conservation Concern, particularly on the south coast.

To pledge your donation, visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/terns.

Brownsea Island is owned by the National Trust and Dorset Wildlife Trust lease and manage just over half the island as a nature reserve.