The largest Least Tern and Black Skimmer colonies in Florida settle onto beaches in Southwest Florida every April and May, although this year SubtropicalStorm Alberto flushed the skimmers and terns from their nests. However, the birds began nesting again in June, and because there was no substantial tropical storm, their eggs are now starting to hatch. Florida has designated both bird species as threatened.
This year there are roughly 400 black skimmer nesting pairs and 200 least tern pairs – compared with 2017 when there were 400 to 500 pairs of skimmers and 200 to 300 pairs of terns, according to state figures. The terns usually lay their eggs in late April and the skimmers in May.
The Marco Island population has remained steady and might have increased slightly over the past two decades, said Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission regional biologist Ricardo Zambrano.