Episode Information

Arctic Terns Select their Mates at Potter Marsh
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In this episode:

Learn about the feeding ritual of Arctic Terns.


Episode Audio

2:00 minutes (1.57 MB)
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Did food play a role in your courtship? Well, Arctic Terns share a food-related ritual. Early in the breeding season, a female Arctic Tern perches near a possible nesting site. The male appears carrying a small fish in its bill. The female pauses for a few minutes to “check him out” before she accepts the fish offering, which she consumes whole. Once nesting begins, he brings the fish to her on the ground. Later when the young hatch, both parents busily deliver food to the nestlings.
One easy place to watch terns and their courtship is Potter Marsh, a freshwater, coastal wetland just seven miles from Anchorage, Alaska.

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