Compromise reached in Hancock Co. over nesting Least Terns - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Compromise reached in Hancock Co. over nesting Least Terns

The Hancock County Board of Supervisors voted on a proposal that was designed to make both property owners and birders happy. (Photo source: WLOX) The Hancock County Board of Supervisors voted on a proposal that was designed to make both property owners and birders happy. (Photo source: WLOX)
The beach in front of Henry Martinez's house was being eyed by the Audubon Mississippi Coastal Bird Stewardship Program as a Least Tern nesting area. (Photo source: WLOX) The beach in front of Henry Martinez's house was being eyed by the Audubon Mississippi Coastal Bird Stewardship Program as a Least Tern nesting area. (Photo source: WLOX)
Martinez decided to install bird deterrents on his property, including looping audio of predatory birds, windmills, and other scare tactics. (Photo source: WLOX) Martinez decided to install bird deterrents on his property, including looping audio of predatory birds, windmills, and other scare tactics. (Photo source: WLOX)
HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

A compromise has been reached in Hancock County. A back and forth between residents and nature advocates has finally come to an agreement.

It was a decision for the birds and the people. The Hancock County Board of Supervisors held a vote on a proposal that was designed to make all involved get along.

"At this point, we have something that we think works for all parties. That's something to be proud of and we'll try to move on," said Board President Blaine LaFontaine.

"I do accept the resolution of the problem for now," said resident Henry Martinez.

The beach in front of his house was being eyed by the Audubon Mississippi Coastal Bird Stewardship Program as a Least Tern nesting area.

Martinez wasn't keen on the idea of roping it off. He decided to install bird deterrents on his property, including looping audio of predatory birds, windmills, and other scare tactics. But he said it wasn't all necessarily because of the birds.

"The birds never became a nuisance. We've always cooperated with them. When other people got involved, that's when it became a problem. But that's all I'm going to say about that," said Martinez.

Sarah Pacyna, director of the bird stewardship program said last year was the first year for this species of tern to nest on the Hancock County beaches. The program tried to get permission for an official roped off area in time.

"In the end, we were only allowed to do a modified version of roping and posting. But we also didn't get the permission until July and at that point, the colony had failed and none of the baby birds had survived," said Pacyna.

So, this year, a compromise was reached to try to get the birds out from in front of occupied properties. Pacyna said looping audio of tern calls, and decoy terns will be used to draw the birds several lots east of Martinez to a roped off area of the beach.

"If this works, we can maybe just find a win-win that doesn't impact people who don't want the birds right across the street from them and others who don't mind," said Pacyna.

When asked if he planned on taking down the deterrents now that an agreement had been reached, Martinez declined to comment. Pacyna said work could begin this week to move the terns.

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