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New Hampshire PBS

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Return of the Seabirds - Teacher's Guide

Episode Overview

Common terns vanished from the Isles of Shoals some 60 years ago -- destroyed by hunters, hatmakers and a proliferation of seagulls. Today, human technology and ingenuity have helped to restore critical habitat at the Isles of Shoals for common terns. Length: 8:17 minutes

Program Objectives

Students will:
1. Explain why the common tern population almost disappeared from the Isles of Shoals.

2. Describe the role the black-backed gull and the American herring gull played in declines in the common tern population.

3. Explain the strategies scientists are using to discourage gulls from nesting on the Isles of Shoals.

4. Describe some of the techniques scientists are using to encourage the common tern to nest on the Isles of Shoals.


General Vocabulary   Science Vocabulary
refuge   threatened species
census   predator
onslaught   out compete
seed money   breeding ground
tenuous   fledged


Previewing Activity

Have students list reasons why the population of common terns might have declined in New Hampshire.

Post-Viewing Activities

1. Have students discuss why non-lethal methods were used to drive gulls away from the Isles of Shoals.

2. Have students contact NH Fish and Game and find out what the current population of common terns is on the Isles of Shoals.

Other Resources

Common Tern
Information about the common tern from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Common Tern
Profile of the common tern from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.