Volunteers installed small wire fences on Monday to protect flightless baby least terns on the roof of The Inn on Destin Harbor.
The inn is one of about 50 rooftops in the Panhandle that Audubon Florida is monitoring during the nesting season, which runs from the end of March to the end of August, according to Audubon Florida's Emily McKiddy.
The fence is about 5 inches high and will extend around the border of the roof. It is held down by bricks and will keep least tern chicks from accidentally walking off the edge before they are able to fly.
McKiddy, along with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers and volunteers, will monitor the rooftops from the ground or from nearby buildings and make sure the chicks are safe. If any fall, their health will be assessed and they will be either placed back on the roof or taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center, McKiddy said.
According to the Audubon Society, a tern hatchling should fly for the first time at about 19 or 20 days old, but they may remain with their parents another two to three months.