Image of two arctic terns from Wikipedia
From Wikipedia -- “The Arctic Tern is famous for its migration; it flies from its Arctic breeding grounds to the Antarctic and back again each year. This 19,000 km (12,000 mi) journey each way ensures that this bird sees two summers per year and more daylight than any other creature on the planet…… The adult plumage is grey above, with a black nape and crown and white cheeks. The upper wings are pale grey, with the area near the wingtip being translucent. The tail is white, and the under parts pale grey. Both sexes are similar in appearance. The winter plumage is similar, but the crown is whiter and the bills are darker.”
The Arctic Tern is so named because it spends all its “living” time in the air and in either Antarctica or the Arctic. A Tern spends all its time in the air, and will land only to build a nest (on the ground) and lay and hatch eggs. Nesting may happen once in every one to three years. Mating happens at about four years of age, and the Tern mates for life. The life span is approximately thirty years. Tern eats as she flies, catching insects in the air and over the surface of the water. If the flying route is oceanic, then she eats small fish and small crabs, lobsters, crayfish and shrimp. Tern plucks this food from the surface or just under the surface of the water. She does not dive into the water.
Arctic Tern travels through our area usually in the spring, on her migration to the Arctic, and then sometimes in the fall as she travels back south. This year, however, several Arctic Terns seemed to have stayed in the area for the summer. Perhaps the available food in the North is diminishing and she is unable to readily feed her offspring.
What messages does Tern bring to us when she flies over our heads with such determination to reach another destination? Perhaps she is telling us to spread our wings, and fly from one end of the world to the other, for with out experiencing different climates and cultures, we make decisions based on other people’s biases. Tern may also be saying to take a more long term look at your life. Tern commits to her mate for life and to flying except to mate. She is focused! Is it time to refocus your life? Is it time to evaluate your relationship? As Tern eats absolutely fresh food, perhaps she is sending you a message about your diet. Are you eating fresh food that is good for your body or do you eat junk food and prepared food from restaurants or boxed food from the super market. Tern lives her life to the maximum. Do you?