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Endangered Ord Birds Featured Worldwide

Our friends from Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have passed along a very exiciting bit of news about our Interior Least Tern, a native bird species that is also endangered.  For you bird lovers and birders out there, this is a real treat to see.  Have a look below. – CP

Ord, Nebraska – In early July, a remote camera, affectionately called TernCam began monitoring a least tern nest at Ulrich Sand and Gravel, a privately-owned sand and gravel operation near the North Loup River outside of Ord. TernCam recorded a continuous video of nesting activity which was then broadcast across the internet on the Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership’s website.

Interior least terns are considered endangered by the United States and the state of Nebraska. Historically, least terns have used sparsely vegetated sandbars on the river for nesting. However, shifts in river hydrology has limited suitable In the absence of suitable sandbars for nesting habitat on the river, least terns will adopt off river sites, like sand and gravel operations, that meet their nesting needs. Least terns have been nesting at Ulrich Sand and Gravel now for several years. The nest featured by TernCam successfully hatched two least tern chicks this season.

During the lifetime of the nesting season, the TernCam webpage received approximately 2,000 visits. Visitors to the TernCam website ranged from 28 states and 14 countries, including the United States, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, India, Ireland, Philippines, Bangladesh, Spain, Indonesia, Japan, Maldives, Romania and Germany.

The TernCam was the result of efforts by Ben Wheeler, a coordinating wildlife biologist, whose tasks include monitoring the endangered Least Terns and Piping Plovers which occur along the North Loup River. “This TernCam project stems from a joint partnership between the Nebraska Natural Legacy Project, Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Nebraska Environmental Trust Fund, Ulrich Sand and Gravel and the University of Nebraska at Lincoln,” Wheeler stated. “TernCam offers people the opportunity to view least terns that might otherwise never have the opportunity to this bird.” The TernCam was developed and constructed by FiveNines Technology Group based in Lincoln.

The TernCam website is currently streaming highlight photos from this past nesting season will be active again during the 2011 nesting season. Visitors can expect to see another successful hatch from one of Nebraska’s endangered birds. To access the TernCam webpage, visit http://ternandplover.unl.edu/terncam.htm

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