Iceland Mag

9 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag


Speeding drivers asked to slow down to protect the nesting of Arctic Sterns

By Staff

  • Arctic stern The road to the village of Rif runs through a large nesting colony of Arctic stern. A road sign asking drivers to slow down has failed to protect the birds from speeding motoriss. Photo/Snæfellsbær

In a response to unusually high numbers of Arctic stern killed by speeding drivers the local authorities have taken steps to try and slow down traffic speeds near the nesting sites of the Arctic stern. The limits will remain in place until the stern have left Iceland for their annual migration south into Antarctic waters.

Read more: The Arctic tern returns after spending the winter in Antarctic waters

Arctic stern speed limits

The traffic cones A crude, but hopefully effective method to slow down traffic and save the nesting stern Photo/Snæfellsbær

Each spring the Icelandic Road and Coastal Authority puts up road signs near nesting grounds of the Arctic stern. These signs ask drivers to slow down to avoid hitting the birds and their young. One of these sites is the road by the village Rif on the northern coast of Snæfellsnes peninsula. 

Flightless chicks wander onto road
Despite these signs this summer's traffic has taken a heavy toll on the stern, as unusually large numbers of adult birds and chicks have been killed in collisions with cars. To stop the carnage the local authority has therefore put up traffic cones on and along the road in an effort to get the attention of drivers.

A statement from the local authority implores drivers to show caution when driving through the nesting grounds: "We hope drivers and others who pass through be considerate of the stern and the flightless chicks who often wander onto the road."

Arctic stern speed limits

Arctic stern speed limits A unique road sign on Snæfellsnes peninsula. The sign reads "Warning - nesting grounds. Birds on the road." Photo/Snæfellsbær


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