In an effort to not only celebrate the arrival of the Least Terns but to also raise awareness of the birds that nest along the beaches of Mississippi, the Pascagoula River Audubon Center and Audubon Coastal Birding Stewards will be hosting Tern Fair, May 8, 2021.
The first-ever Tern Fair at PRAC in Moss Point will be an opportunity to learn more about the heritage and natural resources offered in Mississippi that have made the state one of the country’s highest nesting places for Terns. Melinda Averhart, manager for the ACBS team, said that while Least Terns are prevalent along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, they are listed as protected birds in other parts of the country.
“Populations are dwindling, and a lot of people from other states visit here and have no idea what is happening,” Averhart said. “Because of the raking and management of our beaches, we have created an ideal habitat for Least Terns.”
Also nesting along the local beaches are Black Skimmers, with many other species of shore birds nesting on the barrier islands.
“The islands are an extremely productive area due to the diversity of habitats,” she said, noting that local boaters are great stewards for raising awareness, protecting, and cutting down the disturbances of nesting shore birds.
A special guest of this first-ever festival will be the entertainment of Brian “Fox” Ellis who is a John James Audubon impersonator. He is an internationally acclaimed author, storyteller, historian, and naturalist who has worked all across the country. He will perform two productions at PRAC, at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., depicting some of the John James Audubon’s work with shore birds.
Admission is FREE for all. Gates open at 9 a.m. with vendors, songbird banding, educational activities, entertainment, kayaking and bird walks. Parking is available in the Audubon parking lot on Audubon Way or along public streets in downtown Moss Point.
For more information, please check out our website at https://pascagoula.audubon.org/news-0