A couple of weeks ago I was out hoping for a bit of sunshine only to find the winter was still hanging on when I saw an Arctic Tern flying along the seashore. They are beautiful little birds with a black head and sharply ‘v’ed tail with streamers, reminiscent of a swallow. Hence their nickname, Sea Swallow.
A friend of mine told me the little bird on the seashore had just flown the longest migration of any bird. Visiting us in the summer and wintering in the Antarctic. He’ll experience two summers every year and receive the most sun hours of any creature living on the planet. I was quite blown away by that and immediately added him to possible animals I may want to come back as in the event of reincarnation.
A study in 2010 tagged unfledged chicks in Iceland, Greenland and the UK and found them in Australia three months later. That’s staggering. It’s a massive round trip of about 45,000 miles a year. Or to put it another way, over the course of his lifetime (15-30 years) a round trip to the moon and back three times over. (1.5 million miles.)
Arctic Terns, not just another little seabird on the beach.
If you would like to know more about Arctic Terns,