Recovered Midwestern Bird Soars Off Endangered Species List

Jan 12, 2021

FILE - In this Saturday, May 1, 2010 file photo, a least tern checks her two eggs on the beach in Gulfport, Miss. The interior least tern, a hardy Midwestern bird that survived a craze for its plumage and dam-building that destroyed much of its habitat, has soared off the endangered species list. Federal officials said Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2020, that 35 years of legal protection and habitat restoration efforts had brought the tern back from the brink of extinction.
Credit (AP Photo/Dave Martin File)

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Federal officials say a bird called the interior least tern is being dropped from the endangered species list. The small, fish-eating bird lives along rivers, lakes and wetlands in the Great Plains and Lower Mississippi Valley. Its numbers plummeted in the late 19th century as its feathers became popular for women's hats. Later, it was harmed by dam construction and other river engineering. Conservation efforts have boosted the interior least tern's numbers in recent decades and its future appears secure. Environmental groups support the decision to remove federal protections but say caution is needed to keep the bird safe.