Eggs littered the sand, but there was no sign of life around or in them.
The seabirds that should have been keeping watch had taken off, terrified by a drone that crash-landed into their nesting grounds on an island at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve.
“We’ve never seen such devastation here,” said Melissa Loebl, an environmental scientist who manages the Huntington Beach reserve. “This has been really hard for me as a manager.”
Some 3,000 elegant terns fled the reserve after the drone crashed May 12, leaving behind 1,500 to 2,000 eggs, none of them viable. It was the largest egg abandonment that scientists who work there can recall.
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