Elegant Tern Irruptions in the Pacific Northwest
Elegant Terns have been reported this year from Oceanshores, WA and the Necannicum Estuary, Seaside OR.
This is somewhat unexpected since this is neither an el Niño year or even a warm water year and northward
movements of Elegant Terns are usually associated with warm water conditions.  Elegant Terns have not been
reported from further south on the Oregon coast (as of 07/21/2000), very large movements of Brown Pelicans
and Heermann's Gulls have.

What follows are historical Elegant Tern counts for Oregon showing past trends.

Approximate (and mostly relative) numbers 
of Elegant Terns reported in Oregon from 
1983 to 1999.  The seven year spacing 
between large irruptive events is most 
probably coincidental.


The trend in both 1990 and 1997 was a 
peak in the last week in August.  While both 
1990 and 1997 were warm water years, only
1997 was an official el Niño year.