[Tweeters] Caspian Terns at Rat Island

Buchanan, Joseph B (DFW) Joseph.Buchanan at dfw.wa.gov
Thu Jul 14 16:35:48 PDT 2022

Recent posts on Tweeters have mentioned the Caspian Tern nesting colony at Rat Island, near the lower campground at Fort Flagler State Park. On behalf of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, we would like to add two points of importance to this thread.
First, the colony is on an island that is connected to the mainland only during very low tides. This means that access to the island, if by foot, should be assessed very carefully to avoid the possibility of becoming stranded. Relevant access information is available on the WDFW shellfish site webpage <https://wdfw.wa.gov/places-to-go/shellfish-beaches/250260>. Secondly, this is a good-sized colony of Caspian Terns, and like many wildlife species, the terns can be disturbed by human activity. Human disturbance can result from people being too close or in some other way altering the behavior of the incubating, brooding, or feeding adults at their nests. We have placed signs on the island to remind visitors to stay back from the colony to avoid disturbing the birds. Seal pups may also be present and should be given ample distance.
We ask that birders and others be cognizant of this information when they visit Rat Island.
Thank You
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

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