VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. -

A least tern pair has been discovered nesting on Disappearing Island near Ponce Inlet in Volusia County.

Least terns weigh just over an ounce and have a wingspan of about 20 inches. They nest on sandy beaches and rooftops in the southern United States and are aggressive in defending their nests, officials said.

Because least terns are protected by state and federal laws, the county’s Environmental Management Division has posted signs on Disappearing Island to keep out of the posted area and keep their pets on a leash.

Officials also say the eggs are well-camouflaged and easy to crush if stepped on, so beachgoers should urge caution.

Disappearing Island appears during low tide each day as the water recedes in the inlet between Ponce Inlet and New Smyrna Beach.

According to officials, several dozen pairs of least terns nest in Volusia County each year.