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  Common Tern  
  (Sterna hirundo)  



The Common Tern is just one of five species of tern breeding in Southern Quebec. Common Tern breeding colonies range from a few pairs at many inland breeding colonies, to thousands of pairs on the North Shore. Their diet consists mainly of fish, which they capture by hovering a few meters over the water before diving headfirst for their meal. This species was nearly driven into extinction by the turn of the century. Fortunately, it was afforded legal protection in both Canada and the U.S. in 1916. Subsequently, Common Tern populations recovered, quite possibly reaching their original population size. During the last ten years, many Common Tern populations in Quebec have again declined; possible factors include human disturbance, predation on young terns by gulls, owls and mammals, and competition with gulls for nest sites. In Ontario, many of the threats facing Common Terns were eliminated after the installation of nesting rafts to be used by Common Terns.

  Distribution of the Common Tern in Quebec:  
  distribution map.jpg  


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