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Posts Tagged ‘fledgling’

It feels like the field season on Metinic is flying by (just like our chicks!)

This weekend we had our first tern fledglings, including “Eddy”, our first Arctic tern chick. As we walk around the colony, we are seeing fewer and fewer fluffy chicks as they trade their down plumage for body and flight feathers. Once they reach the fledging age, the young terns can make short flights around the colony. However, their juvenile plumage is still not fully developed and they may have lingering tufts of down. Though they are able to fly, they are not completely independent and will still rely on food from their parents. It is always fun to see the young fledglings experimenting with their wings and hovering over us as we walk through the colony, just like their parents!

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Cooperative tern chicks help illustrate feather development from down to juvenile plumage (right to left).

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A banded Arctic tern fledgling from one of our provisioning nests!

One of my favorite activities on the island is observing the Leach’s storm petrels at night. They are a nocturnal seabird species that nest in dug burrows or crevices and we have many nesting in an old stone wall on the island. If we go out in the middle of the night with night-vision binoculars, we can see them flying all around us. It’s easy to locate them in their burrows with their distinct chatter and purr call that we attribute to a “guinea pig being tickled”. The other night was especially exciting because as we walked along the wall we could see the adults just outside of the openings in the rock. It is amazing how close we can get to observe them!

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A Leach’s storm-petrel in the stone wall.

We only have a couple of weeks left on Metinic and can’t believe how quickly time is passing. Hopefully we will have more pictures of fledglings coming soon!

 

Until next time,

Emma

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