|Forster's Tern (Sterna forsteri)
Family: Terns, Gulls and Relatives (Laridae)
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Forster's Terns are the only terns whose summer (breeding) and winter (non-breeding) ranges and migration range are located almost completely in North America.
|State Ranking Justification||
Forster's Terns are a recent addition to New York's avifauna with the first nest found in the state in 1981 (Levine 1998). New York is the northern extent of their eastern range. They are currently threatened by habitat loss and historically, in parts of their range, populations have likely been affected environmental toxins (1960s-1970s) and hunting for feather collection by the millinery trade, or hat making industry (1880s). As populations increase in New York they may be restricted by habitat availability, human disturbance and rising sea-levels due to climate change.
The distribution and numbers of Forster's Terns have increased in New York over the past few decades. They were found in only 2 atlas blocks during the first Breeding Birds Atlas in 1980 to 1985, and in 10 blocks in the second Breeding Bird Atlas in 2000 to 2005 (Andrle and Carroll 1988, McGowan and Corwin 2008). They are known as a breeder in the state only since 1981 (Zarudsky 1981) and have been increasing in numbers, slowly, since this time (McGowan and Corwin 2008). They are currently known from roughly 12 colony locations in the state although colony presence at any particular site in a given year as well as colony numbers fluctuate broadly between years (NYSDEC 2011).
The first breeding record of Forster's Terns in the state was in 1981 (Levine 1998). Because the species is a relatively new addition to New York's avifauna, the long-term trend is increasing.