Current status:

State and federally endangered since 1971 and 1970, respectively


Sandy beaches, near-shore ocean waters

Causes of decline:

Loss of and disturbance at beach habitat, ocean pollution

Current primary threat(s):

Avian predators, loss of open habitat to development and encroaching vegetation

What we’re doing about it: 

Since 2000, Point Blue Conservation Science has been involved in studies of the endangered California Least Tern colony at Alameda Point (the former Naval Air Station, Alameda) in the San Francisco Bay area. We also monitor the colony located at Vandenberg Air Force Base in central California.

Currently, Point Blue concentrates on studying Least Tern diet and foraging at several colonies in California.  The San Francisco Bay is an important fish spawning area and nursery, providing an abundant food source to the Least Tern (a small fish-eating bird) breeding at Alameda Point. Diet information from other Least Tern colonies in Southern California can provide information on the relative abundances of different fish species and the efficacy of our newly-created Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

Learn more: 

Visit The State of the Birds San Francisco Bay 2011 and explore the reports and publications below:

Using seabird long-term data for monitoring the state of the San Francisco Bay Estuary
Breeding Biology and Status of the California Least Tern at Alameda Point

Download a copy of the Pocket Guide to San Francisco Bay Birds

Download a copy of our Pocket Guide to Beach Birds of California.

Download our Helping Birds on West Coast Beaches handout.

How you can help:

Visit The State of the Birds San Francisco Bay 2011.