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Terner

Hi! My name is Terner, and I am a bird called an Arctic Tern. My name tells you that I live in the Arctic, in places like northern Europe, Asia, Canada, and Alaska. I like water so I live near the coast of the ocean, or by lakes and marshlands. Here are some facts about me and other Arctic Terns.

Arctic Tern Facts

Weight: 4 1/4 ounces (119 g.)

Length: 14 1/2 inches (36 cm.)

Life Span: Oldest known was 34 years old!

Color: I’m medium-gray, but the top of my head (called the cap) and my neck are black. I have a white belly and a bright red bill.

Body Type: I have short, red legs and a long, forked tail.

Other Facts: I eat mostly fish, but I also like crustaceans and insects. Arctic Terns nest together in groups called colonies between May and July. Soon-to-be parents will find an empty spot of sand, gravel, or grass near water, sometimes on a quiet island. A female Arctic Tern lays two eggs, and both the dad and mom take turns sitting on (or incubating) them for 20 to 22 days. The babies (called hatchlings) can swim when they are only two days old and can fly in only about 20 days. Even after the babies leave the nest, both of the parents will keep on feeding them.

Special Design Feature

Do you know that every year I fly farther than any other kind of bird? I love to fly! When I fly far away it is called migration, and that means I go from one place to another for a season and then return. Can you guess where I fly to and from? I start in the Arctic, way in the north, and I stay there while the sun is still shining bright. It even shines a little all night long! But when winter comes to the Arctic, the sun doesn’t shine at all. It is dark for many months. So at the end of the summer, we all leave! And we young terns know what direction and at what time we need to start the migratory trip, and even how far we have to fly.

God has given us a wonderful sense of direction. My Arctic Tern friends and I fly south to the Antarctic and then back north to the Arctic again! It is about 24,000 miles round trip to do that in a year. And there in the Antarctic summer the sun is shining all day and all night again! Can you tell we love the light? That is why my favorite verse is about light!

Favorite Verse

John 8:12 “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’”

I like to think about how we love to follow the light when we migrate, but we also have to follow Jesus, who is the true Light of the World!

Favorite Amusement Park Ride

I love any ride with a big drop! Some terns do what is called “plunge diving” when they catch fish , which are a big part of their diet in today’s world. They spot a fish from high up and then dive straight down to catch it. I have not done that yet to catch a fish; I just glide over the water and then snatch one when I see it. But if I go on the rides with big drops enough times, I think I will be ready to try plunge diving!

Learning About Birds

I love to learn about other birds. God did an amazing job when He created the birds on Day Five. The careful design of each bird kind shows the work of an amazing Creator! Do you like to learn about birds? Here are some articles you might like: