Terns of Endearment


This week’s photo, taken July 27, 2013 from the north beach at Discovery Park in Seattle, WA, features one of five CASPIAN TERNS seen that morning.

The CASPIAN TERN, the largest tern in the world, is an exciting bird to watch. It beats its wings vigorously as it flies back and forth over water, looking for fish. If it spots something, it will hover by flaring its tail and flapping its wings quickly, then it will drop its head down and focus its gaze on its potential snack. If it likes what it sees, it tucks its wings and dives head first into the water. As humans, we usually don’t experience physical injury when we chase down food in a grocery store, restaurant or at home, but a tern risks its neck, literally, whenever it pursues a meal. If you observe a tern that is wearing a neck brace, that bird may have dove into the shallow end of the pool.

In case you are wondering about this week’s title, plenty of people use word play when writing about terns, and in this piece I also succumb to the temptation. My fall from grace may cause you to conclude that my writing has taken a tern for the worst.


About Joe Sweeney

I photograph birds to share the beauty and wonder I find in nature.
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5 Responses to Terns of Endearment

  1. Chris says:

    We went to the Morro Bay Beach State Park campground this afternoon as a large flock of terns was being reported. There were maybe 200-300 in the flock, mostly Elegants but some Royals and a few Caspians. We watched one of the Elegants bringing back a small silver fish in its beak, to a waiting small immature, making the feed-me call. A trio of unenlightened humans then arrived and dashed at the flock, scattering them and yelling Goodbye Birds! The smaller of the humans then dashed at a flock of Heerman’s Gulls with the same effect, at the encouragement of it parents.

  2. ninadoggett@comcast.net says:

    Love it Joe! Saw our first juvenile Skimmer today! Cheers, Nina

    Sent from my iPhone

  3. susan hunter says:

    Ooooh, GROAN, GROAN…… how long did it take you to come up with that ???

  4. Cindy Ackley says:

    Love your play on words and birds

    Sent from my iPad

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