Common Terns (Sterna hirundo) typically favor nest sites with 10–30% vegetative cover, and cover >30% may decrease nest success. Vegetation manipulations were performed in summer 1998 on Lime Island, Michigan, to determine if vegetative structure affects nest success of Common Terns. Three treatments (partial and complete herbicide and a control) were randomly assigned to 5 × 5-m plots. Our results suggest that Common Terns on Lime Island have the greatest nest success in areas that contain moderate amounts (about 40%) of total standing vegetation cover and litter cover (about 50%) that were associated with the partial herbicide areas. Although the greatest number of Common Tern nests were located in areas with 10–30% standing cover and >65% litter cover (complete herbicide), those areas had the lowest nest success. Researchers should not disregard the importance of areas that typically support fewer nests in greater amounts of standing vegetation cover when evaluating the nest success of Common Terns.
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Vol. 73 • No. 2