Black Tern Nesting Platforms

Post rainfall, the flats are heavily damaged but still boasted a successful nest of Tern eggs. Photo: Mike Alaimo

In 2018, WWA’s Waukesha Chapter Chair, and Adopt A Wildlife Area Lead Volunteer, Mike Alaimo, set out to assist the endangered Black Terns at Rome Pond Wildlife Area as a part of his greater project to restore nesting habitat at Rome Pond. Check out his initial report from his 2018 project here.

In the years since, Mike has continued to experiment with various combinations of floating platforms with sod in various locations as a means to provide vegetated platforms for nest success.  The Black Tern is listed as an endangered species in Wisconsin. 

Black terns perching on one of Alaimo’s nesting platforms, spring 2020. Photo: Mike Alaimo

Mike’s work to design-and-prototype-until-successful the black tern nesting platforms has been well documented in this newsletter, as well as in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in this article and other regional and local publications.  With this year’s break-through design, and ultimate success in establishing a suitable nest base, there are dozens of black terns that owe their existence to Mike.

In early 2021 Mike put together this WWA Black Tern Nest Platform Guide & Instruction to assist others that wish to provide nesting habitat for the endangered black tern. Questions? Feel free to reach out to us at

Black Tern chicks, hatched from one of Alaimo’s nesting platforms, June 2020. Photo: Mike Alaimo