RSPB Saltholme installs raft homes for nesting terns

Rafts at Saltholme
Image caption Perspex walls allow visitors to view the birds, and keep predators out

A wildlife reserve on Teesside has installed rafts to aid nesting seabirds.

Common terns spend the winter in South Africa but return to the UK to breed, with about 350 pairs settling at RSPB Saltholme, near Stockton.

Rafts have been placed on its main lake to provide a safe environment for them.

The floating base is covered in cockle shells, which the terns use to dig a hollow for eggs, and has plastic walls keep predators like rats and mink out.

Dave Braithwaite, site manager at Saltholme, said: "The rafts have already proved a hit with these elegant little birds.

"Within hours of being afloat the terns were on the rafts, courting and beginning to create their nests."

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