MANDURAH Offshore Sailing Club and Mandurah Yacht Club were relocated about 20 years ago – along with the fairy terns at Dolphin Pool – to make way for Mandurah Ocean Marina.
Now the fairy terns are back at the marina with a new nesting sanctuary established to help protect the threatened species after last year’s record-breaking find of two 20-year-old fairy terns in Mandurah.
This morning, four fairy terns circled the site at the start of the launch ceremony.
The project was developed to provide a safe breeding space after a small colony of the birds nesting on a vacant development lot last season were frequently disturbed.
City of Mandurah and its project partners have worked to clear the site and spread shell to provide optimal nesting conditions.
They also installed fencing to discourage pedestrian access and prevent chicks from wandering on to the road or footpath.
The sanctuary at the ocean marina is now ready ahead of the fairy tern breeding season that starts this month.
A community-based conservation and Citizen Science program is also in place led by the Conservation Council of WA.
Volunteers will monitor the fairy terns and the sanctuary and help with research tasks such as leg banding.
Last year, two locally nesting fairy terns were identified via leg bands as being 20 years old, breaking the previous record for the oldest known Australian fairy tern which was 17 years old.
The Australian fairy tern is listed as vulnerable under the Commonwealth Environment and Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
In the Peel region, fairy tern breeding colonies have been inconsistent and declined over time, mainly attributed to a lack of secure nesting sites.
The Mandurah Fairy Tern Sanctuary is a City of Mandurah initiative in partnership with the Conservation Council of WA and Peel Harvey Catchment Council and supported by Birdlife Peel, Cockburn Cement and the WA Water Corporation.