Royal Tern Diving

Tern: Will Turn for Food

A few Royal Terns have been coming regularly to one of the old rice field ponds to feed. Terns are extremely skillful flyers and I watched two of them for an entertaining 45 minutes, making loops around the pond and occasionally out over the Ashley River.

Royal Tern Hovering
Royal Tern Hovering

The terns were constantly turning their heads and changing direction. When they spot a fish in the water they hover.

Royal Tern Hovering
Royal Tern Hovering

Then dive!

Royal Tern Diving
Royal Tern Diving

They go completely under water.

Tern Under Water
Tern Under Water

And if all goes well, come up with a fish!

Royal Tern with Fish
Royal Tern with Fish

Up and away!

Royal Tern with Fish
Royal Tern with Fish

Interestingly, the two terns then flew together out over the river. They got too far away to tell if the fishless bird was trying to steal the meal or if they were sharing.

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