Saturday, April 19, 2014

Caspian Tern

Except for Antarctica, Caspian Terns are found around the world. In North America they breed along our coasts and in the interior of the United States and the prairie provinces. Their colonies are adversely affected by changes in water levels, competition with gulls, predators and people. Caspian Terns will often desert their colonies when they are disturbed. Nevertheless, North American populations have increased. In Europe and Africa, however, this tern has declined and is now absent from many parts of the Old World (Cuthbert and Wires 1999).

This Caspian Tern flew overhead as Erika and I explored the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center on 20 February 2014. These terns subsist almost entirely on fish. They forage with their bills pointing downward. When they find fish, they hover, and then dive, usually completely under water.

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