The squeaky voices of terns

April 25, 2016

I recently took a boat ride to a local inlet that I visit as often as I can.  The inlet one of the few natural inlets left along the southern North Carolina coast and as such it is a fantastic place for birds. The familiar sound of Least Terns filled the air. The squeaky voices of these small seabirds, the smallest of all North American terns, came from every sand bar and shoal, as well as the shoreline of the sandy beaches.  The terns had returned from their wintering areas thousands of miles away on the northern coast of South America. 

 

Many of the terns are carrying small fish and some are prancing around trying to attract the future parent of their chicks.  Others are racing across the sky flying in formation like little fighter jets as the aerial part of their courtship ritual. It’s an exciting time to be a tern and I sit back take in this rite of spring,one that has occurred on Atlantic coast barrier islands for centuries, maybe much longer.

 

 


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