As I have mentioned before, our location down here being six miles from the Atlantic, five miles from the Indian River, and a nice lake in our backyard, attracts an astonishing variety of birds. This past week has delivered a new species that I have never seen before.  I just positively confirmed with my binoculars that we have a pair of roseate terns that appear to be hanging around for a while. 

If you have ever seen the swallows and how they like to follow you when you’re bush-hogging, then you can picture how active these terns are at diving for fish.  Just like the swallows tirelessly dive, turn and sway, up down and all around, snatching up bugs, so too do these terns endlessly seem to dive for small fish. They wear me out just watching them. I was just watching them through the binoculars and they never take a break.  Really an amazing thing to witness.

They are about the size of a large robin.  Their wings are long and stealthily designed for quick changes in direction. They dive head-long into the water snatching up small minnow-size fishes.  They seem to swallow them in flight, never pausing for a break while feeding, but continuing on, and on, and on until you tire of trying to keep the little birds in the view of your binoculars.  

They are on the endangered species list in Florida. They can be found from Nova Scotia to the Florida Keys. They are also at home on most all the Caribbean islands. They have snow-white bodies with a black cap, and a thin black bill which becomes red during the breeding season.

 May typically is the beginning of their breeding season. The male will fly with fish in his bill, while calling out to his female.  Males will also feed the females during the courtship ritual. They typically lay two eggs in the middle of May with a total incubation period of two to three weeks. About a month after hatching the little ones fledge, and around two months of age they leave their parents.  What an amazing little bird…

Always something to see if you’re willing to take the time to look.

God bless you all -- RHM