Big fish, small bird

Arctic Tern - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

This Arctic Tern has caught a fish which is clearly causing it a problem. It can’t feed it to its chick and it’s doubtful whether it can swallow the fish itself, however, it is going to give it a go. An Arctic Tern weighs just 100 grammes, which is 3 to 4.5 ounces. That’s the weight of a ‘quarter’ of sweets in old measures. That’s a big fish compared to that body weight.

The Tern flies up and down in a particularly distinctive way. It’s bobbing up and down more than the others with all that extra weight. Five minutes go by and it’s still there with the fish not yet half way down. I wonder if the head has reached its stomach yet? Birds’ stomachs are very much more acid than humans’ stomachs, which is why bird poo can strip the varnish off your car’s nice paintwork. Ten minutes go by and a little bit more of it is down. I’m starting to feel a little queasy about it now. How is it still able to breathe? Bird anatomy is incredible, isn’t it?

Later I see it again, still flying backwards and forwards. Just the fish’s tail is visible. That’s determination for you.

Feel free to leave a Reply :)