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Terns and Their Lifestyle

tern-sitting-on-her-eggs image
Terns usually lay 1-3 eggs.
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The Seasons

If birds could earn frequent flyer miles, terns would definitely earn the most. Almost all terns migrate, and the Arctic tern migrates every year from the Arctic to the Antarctica –a 25,000 mile trip, one way! Common terns migrate from Canada to the central and southern United States.

Three Terns Standing Side by Side Image - Science for Kids All About Terns
All About Terns: They are usually white with gray markings, a black head and a forked tail.

Terns eat fish or shellfish and must live near a lake, river, ocean or pond. These graceful birds fly above the water, searching for dinner. When a tern spots a fish, it swoops down under the water and comes up with a fish in its mouth. Dinner is served!

Tern Flying Above Water Image
These graceful birds fly above the water, searching for dinner.

Fun Facts about Terns for Kids

  • Terns are usually white with gray markings, a black head and a forked tail.
  • Terns can live 34 years or longer.
  • Terns make nests on the ground or in wooded areas or rocky beaches. Sometimes their nests are washed away by coastal storms.
  • Terns can drink sea water, which is salty.
Terns Migrating in the Arctic Image
Almost all terns migrate, and the Arctic tern migrates every year from the Arctic to the Antarctica –a 25,000 mile trip, one way!

Tern Vocabulary

  1. Frequent: often
  2. Migrate: temporarily move
  3. Shellfish: fish with shells, such as clams or mussels
  4. Graceful: smooth, elegant
  5. Coastal: near the coast
Tern Sitting on her Eggs Image
Terns usually lay 1-3 eggs.

Learn More All About Terns

Observe how terns nest in this video:

A video documentary of terns nesting.

Tern Q&A

Question: How many eggs do terns usually lay?

Answer: Between one and three.

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Question: Is migrating dangerous?

Answer: Terns migrate in search of warmer weather and more food, but migrating is both tiring and dangerous. Some terns die before the trip is over.

 

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