Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Least Tern mating ritual

The pair of Least Terns pictured below were on Long Beach in Stratford on May 16 as seen by AAfCW coordinator Scott Kruitbosch. They were in the middle of one of their mating rituals. In this case, the male captures a fish and brings it back to the female on the beach. He holds it while standing behind her, she hunching over flapping her wings quickly but only slightly up and down, veering her head back and forth. He performs the same left to right fast glances.

They also move closer to one another as this progresses...

This would go on for a few minutes in this case and typically end in copulation. However, none was seen at the time, and observation ended before this photography, while from a safe distance with a 24x zoom, became too much of an intrusion. The pictures show a great deal, but you look for HD video of this ritual in our next blog post. We hope you have Least Terns on their way to nesting at your beach, and we need to receive data and information about this threatened species just as much as the Piping Plover.

Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds, Audubon Connecticut and the Connecticut Audubon Society partnering to improve conditions for coastal waterbirds in Connecticut.

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