Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Bird That Circles the Earth
Imagine living a life of almost constant summer. Imagine days that seem to never end, long glorious light filled days for the rest of your life. For the bird to the left this is no pipe dream, but stone solid reality.

Sterna paradisaea, or the arctic tern, experiences more daylight than any other creature on the planet. It also lives through two summers every year.

Its not easy being an arctic tern, however, because the way this bird gets those sweet benefits is to take part in the longest annual migration of any bird on the earth.
The arctic tern flies from the frozen arctic at the top of the world to the frozen seas around Antarctica, then returns, every year. It takes a winding course, and so travels more than 40,000 miles each year. The average bird will travel nearly 3 million miles over the course of it's life. That's the equivalent of flying to the moon and back five times.

Breeding in the north, fishing and resting in the south, this dauntless creature pays the hard price for a life blessed by the sun.

Below is a map showing this marvelous bird's migratory patterns and northern and southern ranges. As you look at it, imagine a small, two pound bird covering that vast distance every year.

This is truly a remarkable creature.

No comments:

Post a Comment