Welcome to the California Least Tern conservation page.

The California Least Tern is an endangered migratory bird. In Los Angeles County, it returns to only a few breeding colonies, one at Venice Beach, one at the Port of Los Angeles, and a relatively new colony at Malibu Lagoon State Beach as well. Los Angeles Audubon works with project biologists studying the tern colony in Venice and Malibu Lagoon and the California Department of Fish & Game, coordinating a community-based science monitoring program during the nesting season. This project also provides the general public with opportunities to participate in habitat restoration prior to the birds’ return in April.


We welcome new volunteers! If you’d like to participate, please contact our Project Volunteer Coordinator (323) 481 4037, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

We will begin providing training sessions for new volunteers in mid-April 2018. If you are interested in participating in the this season, please contact the volunteer coordinator.


For the 2015 and 2016 field seasons, we wish to thank the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund for their generous financial support.

Get all the tern colony details here! Click on a link below to download a pdf version of a comprehensive report...


Breeding Biology of the California Least Tern at Venice Beach, 2016 Breeding Season

Breeding Biology of the California Least Tern at Venice Beach, 2012 Breeding Season 

Breeding Biology of the California Least Tern at Venice Beach, 2009 Breeding Season

Venice beach Least Tern Colony Habitat Improvement and Restoration Study, 2006-2009

Visit the tern colony in the summer, and this is who you might see!


Dorsey High School EcoClub visits the tern colony!

[Check out this LA Times article about the event – click HERE]


Students from Susan Miller Dorsey High School in South Los Angeles helped biologists and other Los Angeles Audubon volunteers with habitat restoration at the Venice Least Tern colony on Saturday, March 29th, 2008.

I am pleased that young people are getting out and connecting with the environment. This makes all our outreach efforts at Los Angeles Audubon worthwhile,” said Mary Freeman, President of Los Angeles Audubon. “Most importantly, we hope that our community will develop a stronger interest and involvement in our mission, teaching our young people the importance of habitat restoration and protection together with the enjoyment of birds and wildlife.”

This is the Dorsey High School EcoClub’s second trip to the tern colony. In October 2007, over 35 students volunteered to spend a Sunday removing invasive plants from the colony enclosure.

“I've been most excited to have such enthusiastic participation in the Dorsey EcoClub this year,” said Robert Jeffers, Dorsey EcoClub Faculty Advisor. “Active members number over forty and we're helping to shape a better environment both on campus and in the community.” On Saturday, 39 students arrived to participate in the tern colony clean-up.

Los Angeles Audubon hopes to continue expanding its community outreach activities, helping to re-introduce city-dwellers to the birds and other natural wonders that can be found in back yards, city streetscapes, and neighborhood parks of the Los Angeles Basin.

“Our hope is that the citizens of Los Angeles, literally, will come to see that they share their neighborhoods with these small creatures; that in the process they will come to appreciate birds and value them,” said Eleanor Osgood, Los Angeles Audubon’s Volunteer Coordinator and Education Chair. “And most important that they will want to protect and restore the habitats that sustain birds and other wildlife.”