The Agile Common Tern

A few of the Common Terns showed up at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma this spring. I tried to photograph them diving and catching fish out of the river but I never saw one that was successful.

The Common Tern is an agile flyer, capable of rapid turns and swoops, hovering, and vertical take-off. When commuting with fish, it flies close to the surface in a strong head wind, but 10–30 m (30–90 ft) above the water in a following wind. Unless migrating, normally it stays below 100 m (300 ft), and averages 30 km/h (18.6 mph) in the absence of a tail wind. Its average flight speed during the nocturnal migration flight is 43–54 km/h (27–33 mph) at a height of 1,000–3,000 m (3,200–9,700 ft). (Wikipedia)

The Agile Common Tern Photo

A Common Tern Diving For Fish At The Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge In Oklahoma

Common Tern Photo

A Common Tern Searching For Fish At The Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge

This entry was posted in Birds and tagged , , .


  1. Ron Dudley June 21, 2013 at 5:44 am #

    I like that twisting turn (tern turn…) in that first shot, Steve.

  2. Steve Creek June 21, 2013 at 5:48 am #

    Thanks Ron! It is amazing how they can twist there bodies in flight. Great play on words by the way. :-)

  3. Barbara June 21, 2013 at 8:30 am #

    Wow – poetry in motion for sure!

  4. Dwynn June 21, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    Nice shots of a difficult-to-shoot bird, Steve. That first image is quite a catch. (Ron’s play on words and Barbara’s comment reminded me of a local chicken farm whose delivery trucks carry the message “Poultry in motion.”)

  5. Mia McPherson June 21, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

    Love the poses Steve.

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