Meet our shorebird collection: common tern

Our exhibit holds one common tern. We nicknamed her "Ike" before we found out she was a female. Ike was found as a chick in the summer of 2005 on a beach in southern Massachusetts. She was mistakenly though to be abandoned by her parents and was brought to a rehabilitation center before we eventually gave her a permanent home.

Tern parents often leave their chicks on the beach while they fish offshore. So if you ever see a tern chick without a parent watch it for a while and I bet you'll see an adult come back pretty soon with a beak full of fish. If you don't see a parent return then contact a local wildlife rehabber or your local animal control officer before you try to handle any wildlife.

Ike is perfectly healthy and can fly very well but we can't release her back into the wild. Common terns need their parents to show them how to migrate and forage for food. We sometimes see her catching live silversides out of the exhibit pool but she's not very good at it, she prefers to eat defrosted fish out of a bowl!


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