Headpeckers on eggs!

Friday 19th May comments: It’s a fast moving world out on the Isle of May and today we can reveal we have found our first Arctic Tern egg!

The world’s longest distant bird migrant has been arriving in good numbers in recent days with copulating and nest scraping behaviour noted. Arctic terns are highly aggressive towards any intruders as they will attack humans (and large predators), usually striking the top of the head (and capable of drawing blood). In the Arctic, they have been known to repel Polar bears!

The nest site is usually a depression in the ground and both sexes share incubation duties, sitting on eggs for 22-27 days. The majority of pairs will lay clutches of 2-3 eggs whilst a clutch of four is rare. Once the young hatch they are looked after by both parents and take just 21-24 days to fledge. Arctic Terns are surface feeders, plunging into the sea from a height, catching various small fish and marine invertebrates. Once the chicks are on the wing, the family parties start departing the island from early August and then begin one of the world’s most incredible journeys.

Anyway it’s now started and a word of warning; if you are visiting in the near future, please bring a hat. Arctic Terns take no prisoners. You’ve been warned…

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