News / 3 March 2017

Long-distance Tern Travellers

BirdWatch Ireland has been keeping a close eye on the terns that nest each summer in Dublin Port. These small migratory seabirds only spend a few months in Ireland each year, departing in autumn for warmer climates. To study their movements the bird researchers have given a number of young birds individual colour rings, inscribed with unique letter codes that can be read through a telescope.

A new record has been set this winter with two Dublin Bay birds sighted in Namibia on the south-west coast of Africa. They were seen over 5,400 miles (in a straight line) from Dublin Bay but the birds will probably travel closer to 20,000 miles as they follow the Atlantic coast of Europe and Africa twice each year.

Juvenile Common Tern (PAT) wearing a numbered ring on its leg (photo John Fox)

Text by Richard Nairn,

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