Arctic Tern Chicks Fall Victim to Careless Drivers

Dozens of Arctic tern chicks have been killed in recent weeks by traffic around the village of Rif on the northern side the Snæfellsnes peninsula, RÚV reports. The speed limit in the area has been lowered and there’s plenty of signage clearly marking nesting grounds, but these measures seem not to have prevented a number of casualties among newly hatched chicks.

Guðjón H. Björnsson, foreman of the Icelandic Road and Costal Administration in nearby Ólafsvík, says that the area is being closely monitored and that an additional speed limit reduction is under consideration.

“We permanently lowered the speed limit to 70 km/hr [43 mi/hr] last year,” he explained, “but we’re considering lowering it even more, down to 50 km/hr [31 mi/hr] in certain sections.”

“It’s different from day to day—some days, we’re cleaning up 20 chicks [from the roadway] over there. Other days, none,” said Guðjón, reiterating that the area is well-marked, but drivers are clearly not being careful enough.