Recycled rafts to the rescue for bird conservation

A conservation success story for the Common Tern in Leicestershire has been made possible thanks to a novel nesting raft made from recycled plastic.

Two tern rafts made by specialist manufacturer Filcris from Stokbord recycled plastic board became home to eight pairs of Common Terns in Watermead Country Park in Leicestershire, rearing ten young during the summer.

Members of the Leicestershire & Rutland Ornithological Society wanted to boost breeding numbers of the Common Tern in the county, following a decline in numbers. Nationally, the Common Tern has ‘amber’ conservation status, due to recent significant reductions in breeding populations.

Society president Jim Graham said: “The success of the Tern Rafts was amazing. We had not seen any Terns breeding in the Watermead area for several years. We knew that previously this wetland area had offered a good location for breeding Terns, but habitats had degraded and the birds had disappeared.

“Using a raft made of recycled plastic was vital to the success of the project. The alternative would have been to use wooden rafts, but over the years they would have rotted and needed replacing so were not an affordable option for us.”

Stokbord is manufactured by Centriforce out of waste plastic bottles, carrier bags and film that would otherwise be destined for landfill or export. Stokbord forms the base of the Tern rafts and the substructure of the raft is also made from recycled plastic profiles.

The rafts have clear plastic sides to enable easy observation of the birds from a distance, and to protect against attacks by Mink and other water-using predators.

Maxine Perella

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