From National Geographic:
Chilean Birdman Leads Efforts to Save Seabird in World’s Driest Desert
Naturalist Jürgen Rottmann strives to protect Peruvian tern’s nesting sites amid Chile‘s growing seaport
February 28, 2015
Jürgen Rottmann—a naturalist and ornithologist widely known as the David Attenborough of Chile—rehabilitates giants.
He’s lived for 44 years in what is today a raptor rehabilitation center —overseen by the Union of Chilean Ornithologists—in Talagante, outside Santiago, caring for some of the largest birds in existence: emblematic Andean condors (longest wingspan among raptors), huge Chilean blue eagles, and southern caracaras, long-legged raptors with naked cheeks, black crests, and streaked chests. (He also looks out for an enormous helmeted water toad that lurks in a tangled bank of vegetation.)
This video is about the Talagante raptor rehabilitation center.
Almost 900 miles (1,450 kilometers) to the north of the animal rescue center lies a barren desert where Rottmann has cultivated a soft spot for a tiny creature—a seabird not much bigger than his hand—the elusive and very rare gaviotín chico, or Peruvian tern.
This tern has flourished for millennia along a thin strip of coastline from northern Chile to Peru where the Atacama Desert meets the zone of rich upwelling in the Pacific Ocean known as the Humboldt Current.
No more than a thousand of the birds may survive today, largely because of human activities in northern Chile’s Mejillones Peninsula, a critical tern nesting area—and the site of a port complex, from which copper, vital to Chile’s economy, is exported.
In 2008, Rottmann helped establish a foundation to protect tern nesting sites—Fundación Para la Sustentabilidad del Gaviotín Chico—and was made its executive manager.
Rottmann and his field team have since spent years in the desert monitoring tern nesting sites, which are now clearly signed and demarcated; observing the habits of the terns and their predators; and even filling in pits and trenches made by the military in the terns’ habitat.
This video, in Spanish, is called Gaviotín Chico o Chirrío (Sterna lorata) Península de Mejillones – Antofagasta – Chile.