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  • Writer's pictureDon McCracken

Tern, Tern, Tern

If you have a chance to visit a large marsh, you might see Black Terns flying purposefully over the water with slow powerful wingbeats and dipping occasionally to catch insects. These social, graceful birds used to be common across North America. But their population has declined sharply.

Black Terns build nests on floating plant material, often in marshes that border lakes and streams. These lands are being drained for development purposes, which partially explains the decline of this species. Additionally, their nests are highly vulnerable to boat waves.

This tern was photographed at Cooper Marsh where a small colony is nesting.

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