SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — Just 10 miles away from downtown San Diego thousands of wild birds are nesting and raising their young. The migratory birds have flocked to the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
On the wildlife reserve over 300 species of birds will pass through each season. A sub-colony of Elegant Terns has over 9,100 nests currently.
"This species of Elegant Terns nests in only 5 places worldwide," said SD Bay National Wildlife Refuge Manager Brian Collins. "And this is one of them."
San Diego's colony is the second largest with their main colony being in Baja, California.
News 8 followed along with ornithologist Robert Patton and refuge manager Brian Collins for their bi-weekly egg nest count.
"The eggs that we're seeing are what we call 'cryptically colored' and they're generally hard to see," said Collins.
A linear count was used and the total population was estimated as 18,000 birds. Their migration is vast with the Elegant Terns coming all the way from South America. And there are other types of Terns in the refuge as well including Royal Terns and Caspian Terns.
Video shows a 360-degree view of Elegant Terns in San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge:
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