They say they've done so by building a man-made island in a southeast Oregon lake where the terns are coming to gorge on other types of fish besides the federally protected and highly prized Columbia River salmon, The Oregonian newspaper reported Tuesday.
It said the new island on Crump Lake, southeast of Lakeview, Ore., has attracted 50 nesting pairs of terns and as many as 520 individuals, some of which have been identified through leg bands as former frequenters of the Columbia River estuary where they consumed up to 12 million salmon and steelhead in a single year.
"I'm pleasantly surprised at how popular the new island has become," Dan Roby, an Oregon State University professor of fisheries and wildlife, told the newspaper.
Scientists said they think the terns congregated in the estuary because their nesting grounds elsewhere have been destroyed by human activities. Officials had hoped to create a new nesting site for them far from the salmon routes.