Monroe County Building Well Known Least Tern Nesting Area – Watch for baby birds if in the area

MARATHON, FL – It is that time of year when those visiting Monroe County’s Marathon Government Center may be seeing least terns, a protected bird, flying around and nesting on the roof. The birds are well known in the Florida Keys for nesting this time of year on gravel-covered rooftops. During the next few weeks, the chicks will begin testing out their wings, but some may take a few tries to get the hang of it.

“Sometimes they manage to fly off of the top of the roof and land in the parking lot unharmed, but they can’t get back up to the roof,” said Monroe County Marine Planner Brittany Burtner, whose office is in the building. “Normally, it wouldn’t be a problem and the parents would continue to feed them where they are on the ground; however, they’re very vulnerable to predation and the cars in the parking lots.”

With the permission of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and training to do so, Burtner received permission to replace any baby least terns to the government center roof.  If you are in the parking areas of the Marathon Government Center or the adjacent state building and see a baby least tern on the ground, please contact Burtner at 305-289-2805 for her assistance.

For more information on rooftop nesting, visit the FWC site at