Written by Abi McLelland

 

Most know that animals, like humans, can be very protective of their young. Here at Skálanes the Arctic tern colony is no different. In fact, there is even a sign at the door to warn all visitors of the aggressive protection methods of the terns. They will dive bomb heads or the tallest part of any unfortunate creature to get even remotely close to their nesting ground. This year we don’t have any projects on these lovely birds and so we keep our distance as much as possible. Disastrously, the tern nests are just along from the house and almost as soon as we step outside, they are on us.

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It starts with around one hundred terns circling us from above, they then make loud high-pitched warning calls to us, very closely followed by their favourite move, dive bombing towards our heads! We have lost count now of the impacts, but only a couple days in the scores sit at: Bethan-2, Clara-3, Abi-8 (myself), Emma-9, and Avery-9, so no one has evaded all assaults. However, the terns have a clear distaste for poor Lotta as she has been hit 18 times! As you can see on the sign, us humans do have methods of our own in which we can attempt to protect ourselves from tern attacks. The whole team does heed this great advice, though we look a little funny running around wearing 2 or 3 hats and waving sticks or lupin above our heads. It certainly doesn’t stop the terrifying onslaught, but it makes it relatively harmless. We just hope at some point the tables will turn and they will warm up to us – at least a bit to Lotta!

Sticks (2)

 

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