Help create a safe haven for Brownsea's Sandwich terns

Help create a safe haven for Brownsea's Sandwich terns

£12,407 of £15,000 goal

Stretching our target, so that we can do even more!

We did it! We reached our initial target of £10,000. A massive THANK YOU to everyone who donated.

But there's so much more we could do at Brownsea if only we had the funds. That's why we're stretching our target to £15,000. Your extra donations will allow us to continue maintaining the lagoon for years to come, something that's important for the long-term survival of Brownsea's wildlife.

Thank you for your generous support!

An uncertain future for Brownsea's terns

Brownsea Island's lagoon hosts the only colony of Sandwich terns in Dorset.  

Worryingly, their numbers are declining and the global pandemic prevented us from carrying out critical work to protect them from predation, erosion and trampling by sika deer.

We need your help to restore and increase this high quality nesting habitat before it's too late.

Brownsea lagoon

Donating £50

could buy a pair of chest waders - essential for working in the lagoon.
Sandwich tern

Donating £100

could buy timber to create new tern shelters.
Tern island

Donating £250

could fund a volunteer work party to repair breeding islands
This winter, our dedicated conservation staff and volunteers urgently need to restore these incredibly important nesting islands and, hopefully, secure a safe future for our resident Sandwich terns.

We must act now

Without your help, there's every chance the Sandwich tern colony could fail. Your donation will make a big difference to their chances of survival. 

Act now, for Brownsea's Sandwich terns

Your donation can help protect their future

Your questions answered

Brownsea's Sandwich tern colony faces an uncertain future. Your donation is important to their long-term survival, but we wanted to explain why.

What makes Brownsea Lagoon’s wildlife so special?

Located near the mouth of Poole Harbour, Brownsea Island is an internationally important wildlife haven. The shallow brackish waters of the magical Brownsea lagoon attract thousands of migrating birds, including one of the most gregarious of all seabirds, the Sandwich tern. During the summer months, the islands within the lagoon are filled with nesting Sandwich terns, breeding alongside common terns, gulls, common shelduck, oystercatchers and water rails. It is a wildlife spectacle – an assault on all the senses – their loud cries, intense smell, and sheer numbers.

Brownsea offers a unique and safe environment for Sandwich terns to nest on a sheltered lagoon away from extremes of weather associated with usual UK coastal conditions, with minimal threats from predators, as well as being a stone’s throw from vital sand eel populations and other small fish for feeding hungry chicks.

Normally, the fledging rates on Brownsea exceed regional averages, but in recent years we have seen a worrying decline, partly due to weather changes and predation from neighbouring great blackbacked gulls, but also due to loss of nesting habitat on the lagoon

Why are sandwich terns in decline?

Historically, Sandwich terns were greatly affected by egg collection and the livery trade in the 19th century, with their plumage a favourite amongst milliners. More recently, they have been impacted by loss of nesting habitat on sand and shingle beaches.

Today, Sandwich tern habitat is becoming extremely rare along our UK coastlines and faces many challenges, such as increased recreational use, expanding coastal communities and warming seas. In fact, most Sandwich tern colonies in the UK only survive because they are on nature reserves, managed and protected for wildlife.

With each mating pair only laying one or two eggs a year, we need to ensure that these birds have the best opportunities for survival now.

Sadly, the global pandemic prevented us from carrying out critical maintenance on the lagoon. So, we must act now to save this vital habitat before it is too late.

Why is my donation so important?

This winter, we urgently need to undertake a major programme of works on Brownsea lagoon to restore and increase high quality nesting habitats which are protected from erosion, predation and being trampled by deer.

With your help, our dedicated conservation staff and volunteers can restore these incredibly important nesting islands and, hopefully, secure a safe future for our resident Sandwich terns.

Help by donating now

Main banner photo: Sandwich terns © Ross Wheeler