A Tern for the Better

Nancy Barrett

Toronto, Canada

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Artist's Description

Common Tern
(Sterna hirundo)

This is a medium-sized tern, 34-37 cm long with a 70-80 cm wingspan. It is most readily confused within its range with the similar Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea) and Roseate Tern (Sterna dougalli). The call is a clear piping, like that of the Arctic Tern, but lower-pitched and less strident.

This species breeds in colonies on coasts and islands and often inland on suitable freshwater lakes. This latter practice is assisted by the provision of floating “tern rafts” to give a safe breeding area. It lays two to four eggs. Like many white terns, it is very defensive of its nest and young and will attack humans and other large predators, but unlike the more aggressive Arctic Tern rarely hits the intruder, usually swerving off at the last moment. The offering of fish by the male to the female is part of the courtship display.

Photographed near Common Tern “raft” (as above)
Tommy Thompson Park
Toronto

Nikon D90 with 70-300 mm VR lens.

My thanks to Shane for the invaluable tips
he provided regarding photographing
the birds of the “spit”.

Artwork Comments

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desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

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