Thursday, June 26, 2014 Arctic Tern fracas!

Seward, Alaska

Sunrise 4:34 am, sunset 11:26 pm, for a total day length of 18 hours and 25 minutes. Tomorrow will be 1 minute and 6 seconds shorter.

Cool cloudy weather continues with occasional sprinkles and sunshine, temps in the mid 50s. The forecast, if it is to be believed, is for 72ยบ on Saturday with more sunshine on Sunday. We shall see!

It was a pleasure, as always, to watch the graceful ARCTIC TERNS today, full of moxie, zipping after BALD EAGLES and RAVENS like fighter jet escorts at the border.  One caught a rather impressive fish and paraded that fish around and around, crying exultantly, openly bragging, long after the poor fish was asphyxiated. I hope that eventually the tern remembered to haul it back to any chicks, waiting hungrily for delivery.

Another tern dove with a big splash and caught a minute fish, smaller than a chick snack. To my astonishment, another tern dove down and ATTACKED the fisher, grabbed one of its outer tail feathers with its strong red bill and pulled hard. The attacked tern struggled to fly away. Weighed down by the intruder, it almost went into the water. You can imagine the racket as both birds screamed, one in surprise and indignation, the other hurling bad, bad tern words. Maybe both were.

It was over in a trice; the attacker released the feathers and the victim flew free, feathers intact, still holding the tiny fish between its clenched bill. I have never witnessed a tern attack another tern. I cannot conceive why. Certainly, it wasn't because of the fish, which was no prize. Very puzzling. But what a drama!

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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