Common Tern

Sterna hirundo

This mid-sized bird is a pale gray in color with a black cap on its head. They have an orange bill that is tipped with black and orange legs and feet. These birds will commonly fly over the open water looking for small fish below. When they spot prey they will dive down to grab fish from the surface or just below the surface of the water. The common tern is the most widespread tern in North America and is exceptionally social. They will forage in groups and nest in colonies along barrier beaches and saltmarshes by making a scrap in the ground surface. They will lay between 2-3 eggs starting in June with chicks hatching after 21-22 days. The chicks stay near the nest but will often wander waiting for their parents to return from foraging with food.