MAGIC CHICKS; Birds defy mink by laying eggs in man-made nest.
TERNS are protecting their eggs from killer mink with the help of man-made love nests.
The breeding rafts - covered with grass and pebbles - have strengthened floors and high fences to keep the predators out.
Retired scientist Clive Craik and retired biology teacher Rob Lightfoot built the rafts on Loch Creran, Argyll, because mink have decimated so many land-based tern colonies.
The project began in 1996, and last season the rafts attracted about 300 pairs of terns, with 400 chicks fledged, making this the largest and most productive tern territory on Scotland's west coast.
And speaking after the first raft colony chick of the 2012 season hatched, the men announced that a record 352 pairs of terns are now in residence.
Clive, 69, of Barcaldine, near Oban, said: "Despite a variety of setbacks and disasters, numbers have grown over the years and the project has become a huge success for conservation and biodiversity.
"Our recent experience has shown that rafts like this are the best way to protect terns from American mink."
KILLER Mink eat tern eggs TWEET SUCCESS Rob and Clive built and perfected the rafts and keep a watch on the number of terns and their chicks GOOD TERN A newborn chick on one of the rafts TWEET SUCCESS Rob and Clive built and perfected the rafts and keep a watch on the number of terns and their chicks
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|Publication:||Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Date:||Jun 25, 2012|
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