Member Moment: Royal Terns

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Member Moment and Photographs by Linda Caden

I made this series of images of royal terns at Huguenot Park, a state park with a wide beach and grassy dunes on the coast of North Florida. The adult terns make nests in the dunes, lay their eggs, and by July most of the chicks have hatched. When we visited there were thousands of royal terns, gulls and other sea birds on the beach. It was a cacophony of sounds! 

The ranger explained that since the little “downy” chicks can’t fly yet, the adults parade them down to the ocean’s edge, where it’s cooler. Then the adults fly off in search of food. One of the photos shows the adult swooping in to drop off a fish for his little chick. The fish seems as big a he is! But down the hatch it goes. This was a great moment for me as a wildlife photographer.

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