Wildlife - Eric Rach Photography
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Arctic Tern Feeding Fledglings

Although this photo of an Arctic Tern feeding its fledglings was taken from outside Anchorage, Alaska, I got to know their behavior well in Iceland over the summer. At Jökulsárlón Lagoon, there is a narrow road leading to a parking lot off the highway which these birds nest along. If you are unfortunate enough to have to park on the side of this narrow road and walk to the lagoon, you get to experience how fiercely defensive the Arctic Tern is of its nest and young. At the time I visited, there was a very large colony of terns defending their nests, which are on open ground. Even as I tried to keep my distance, it was still too close. They started to dive bomb the top of my head, with each return getting closer and closer. They were relentless. Finally one made contact with its sharp beak. Fortunately I was wearing a cap or it might have hurt! This photo was taken three years before Iceland. Looking back on it, I was probably able to get rather close because they were preoccupied with feeding their young.

Anchorage Coastal Wildlife RefugeArctic TernBirds In FlightBirds feeding