Sunday the 13th was very exciting on Petit Manan because after days of hovering in the sky and offshore, our terns finally decided to land on the island and begin the breeding season! Although a few terns had been hanging around the island, on Sunday the group was at least 250 strong—both Common and Arctic Terns. They arrived early in the morning and flew around the island together, calling in loud squeaks and yips. By late morning they began landing and pairing up.
Males display with fish in their mouths, which they feed to their mates. When two are paired, they perform funny little courtship dances in which they drop their wings to their sides, stretch out their necks, and waddle around on the ground.
In the days following their arrival, the terns have disappeared for long stretches as they forage at sea, but they have been coming back more frequently and staying longer as time progresses.
We’re expecting eggs in the next ten days or so—we’ll keep you posted!