Fun Fact Friday: Forster’s Terns are elegant, acrobatic birds of marshes and coasts. They breed in freshwater, saltwater, and brackish marshes predominately inland but also in limited areas along the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf coasts.
Like most of their kin, Forster’s Terns feed primarily on small fish, which they catch by plunging spectacularly and dramatically into the water from heights of up to 50 feet (or more)! Though they typically hunt via airborne hovering, these terns will also hunt from perches on pilings, bridges, or utility wires (or our own boat dock) – a trait unusual for this group of birds.
Like many other terns, these birds suffered during the height of the millinery trade in the 1800s: many were shot and used to decorate the fashionable hats of the day. Thankfully, passage of the Migratory Birds Convention Act in Canada (1917) and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in the United States (1919) ended this practice.
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