Nesting habitat at Fiesta Island restored for endangered bird - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Nesting habitat at Fiesta Island restored for endangered bird

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — Volunteers got their hands dirty at North Fiesta Island for Sunday's habitat restoration project. 

Dozens removed invasive plants so an endangered California bird can have a safe place to nest. 

Volunteer Steve Lister got lucky as he picked up invasive plants piece by piece, ending up with a bucket full of the plants that could harm an endangered bird, the California least tern.  

"Like if we don't get all these cockaburs out here, the poor little babies, get these things stuck on their down feathers," said Lister. "Sometimes they're just covered with them."  

Lister and dozens of other volunteers got down in the dirt at North Fiesta Island as part of the San Diego Audobon Society's habitat restoration project. 

"We're at the largest nesting site in Mission Bay, because it is the largest it is the hardest to manage [and] there is the most invasive weeds," said SD Audobon's Megan Flaherty.  

The area one of four nesting habitats for the least tern, a migratory seabird that nests on open sand dunes along our coast from mid-April to September. 

"They need open expanses because their eggs and their chicks are both perfectly camouflaged - they blend into the sand," said Flaherty.  

60 percent of the endangered species nests here in San Diego County – Mission Bay is a big resource for them. 

"Most of their sand dune habitat, where they nest, has been lost because people have kind of encroached on the coastlines there," said Flaherty. 

The California least tern was one of the very first species to be put on the endangered list in 1970  

Some students from UCSD and La Jolla High School were among the volunteers. 

"It's been pretty difficult work - it's been a lot of bending over," said Nick Brown from the National League of Young Men. "There's a lot of people out here, so I think if we're all doing it, it's going to make actually, a big impact."  

Next up for the San Diego Audobon Society is their "Love Your Wetlands Day" on Saturday, Feb. 10 at Kendall Frost Marsh Reserve, for the only day of the year where it is open to the public. Attendees can walk through and learn about the wetlands at the corner of Crown Point Drive and Pacific Beach Drive. 

The San Diego Audobon Society organizes habitat clean-ups every month. 

Their goal is to have more than 1,000 volunteers for the year. 


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