Conservationists are using hand-painted model birds to lure Little Terns towards safe areas to breed. The models were successfully tested on Suffolk beaches last year, as a result of which Suffolk saw its best ever year for Little Tern breeding. The decoys, made of plaster of Paris, are placed in a way to make them look as real as possible and are being used again at Kessingland and Shingle Street this year.
Little Terns are the UK’s second rarest tern, and have been struggling to find safe nesting sites free from predators and human disturbance. As colonial breeders, the sight of the fake terns encourages real ones to land in areas protected by electric fences, wardens, and other measures.