Arctic Terns

Don't let the size of an Arctic tern fool you! This small bird is only 12-15 inches long. It weighs about one-third of a pound. But it holds the world's record for long distance migration! Each year in August or September, Arctic terns leave their summer home in the Arctic. They want to stay away from the harsh winter climate. They want to avoid the months of darkness. They fly south - all the way south, to Antarctica. The seasons in the northern hemisphere are the opposite from those in the southern hemisphere. Arctic terns get to enjoy summer again when they finish this long, tiring trip. As fall comes to Antarctica in May, Arctic terns leave again. This time they head north, back to the Arctic.

They fly more than 24,000 miles round trip. Arctic terns are the migration champs! Their migration is longer than any other birds' trip. They enjoy more summer days than any other birds, too. Arctic terns have black crowns and gray wings. Their cheeks, bellies, and long, forked tails are white. Their pointed beaks and webbed feet are red. They mainly feed on fish. They also eat krill, squids, and other small animals.

In June or July, Arctic terns form colonies in the Arctic region. .....

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