IBA Home     Contacts     Criteria for Site Selection     IBA Map     IBA Sites     Links     Nomination Form      Technical Committee     TWRA Home

IBA symbol

Least Tern Surveys in the Mississippi River

    TWRA symbol

Lake Co. and Obion Co.Dyer Co.Lauderdale Co.Tipton Co.Shelby Co.

MAV

Surveys: Interior Least Tern surveys have been conducted since 1985 by the Memphis District Army Corps of Engineers in the Mississippi River. The surveys were conducted from Cape Girardeau, Missouri to Vicksburg, Mississippi (577 miles) in 1985-2003, and extended to Vicksburg, Mississippi, in 2004-2005 (additional 200 miles). In the period 2001-2005, a small boat survey technique was used to census the birds. Upon spotting a likely colony, terns were counted in the air and on the land from the boat as it drifted downstream. After this preliminary count, the site was usually surveyed on foot to count adults, nests, eggs, and chicks (Jones 2005).
    The table below summaries survey results for 2001-2005 along the western border of Tennessee, river miles 882.5 - 715.2, a distance of 167.3 river miles. The Mississippi River also loops into Tennessee from Kentucky along the northern border of Lake County at river miles 904.8 - 897.0, a distance of 7.8 river miles. Nesting terns are not detected along this section of the river in Tennessee. Least Tern breeding colonies that contain >1% of the total inland Least Tern breeding population can qualify as a separate IBA. In Tennessee, the site must meet this requirement 4 out of the last 5 years (2001-2005). There are five sites that can separately meet this threshold:  Dyer County--Island No. 18 Towhead Dikes, and Island No. 21; Lauderdale County--Nebraska Point Dikes (Upper and Lower); Tipton County--Randolph Bar; and Shelby County--Densford Bar. See each county for a county breakdown--Lake County and Obion County
, Dyer County, Lauderdale County, Tipton County, and Shelby County.These Least Tern sites are included under the umbrella IBA site Mississippi Alluvial Valley in Tennessee. It is apparent that birds nesting on the Missouri and Arkansas side of the river along the border with Tennessee, use the Tennessee part of the river as well, and the health of the total population of Least Terns along these common borders with Tennessee should be recognized and maintained.

Least Tern Survey In Mississippi River Along Tennessee Border 2001-2005

YEAR

Number birds
Tennessee
side of river

Number birds
Missouri
side of river
by Tennessee

Number birds
Arkansas
side of river
by Tennessee

Total Birds
along
Tennessee
border

Survey Total all
Mississippi River

% of Survey Total
along Tennessee
border

% River Miles
in Tennessee
577 miles
(a)
777 miles
(b)

2001

1,273

168

281

1,722

6,361 (a)

27.1% (a)

29.1% (a)

2002

1,662

347

377

2,386

5,802 (a)

41.1% (a)

29.1% (a)

2003

2,282

447

301

3,030

8,082 (a)

37.5% (a)

29.1% (a)

2004

2,197

212

149

2,558

9,061 (a)
11,239 (b)

28.2% (a)
22.8% (b)

29.1% (a)
21.6% (b)

2005

1,054

744

234

2,032

9,563 (a)
10,960 (b)

21.2% (a)
18.5% (b)

29.1% (a)
21.6% (b)
(a) Least Tern survey 2001-2003 was from Cape Girardeau, Missouri to Vicksburg, Mississippi, for a total of 577 river miles.
Number reflects survey of 577 river miles.
(b) Least Tern survey 2004-2005 was extended 200 miles to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for a total of 777 river miles.
Numbers reflects extended survey to 777 river miles.

References:
Jones, K. H. 2005. Population Survey of the Interior Least Tern on the Mississippi River from Cape Girardeau, Missouri to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Memphis District, Corps of Engineers.
Jones, K. H. 2004. Population Survey of the Interior Least Tern on the Mississippi River from Cape Girardeau, Missouri to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Memphis District, Corps  of Engineers.
Jones, K. H. 2003. Population Survey of the Interior Least Tern on the Mississippi River from Cape Girardeau, Missouri to Vicksburg, Mississippi. Memphis District, Corps  of Engineers.
Jones, K. H. 2002. Population Survey of the Interior Least Tern on the Mississippi River from Cape Girardeau, Missouri to Vicksburg, Mississippi. Memphis District, Corps  of Engineers.
Jones, K. H. 2001. Population Survey of the Interior Least Tern on the Mississippi River from Cape Girardeau, Missouri to Vicksburg, Mississippi. Memphis District, Corps  of Engineers.

Approved under the umbrella IBA site Mississippi Alluvial Valley:  February 2006--Yes 7  No 0


This page was last updated on 02/09/06.