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Bird's Blog

Poetry, musings, observations, commentary, rants, confessions...and who knows what else!

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Location: San Francisco Bay Area

Teacher, writer, poet, grandmother, lover, wine-drinker, chocolate eater, beach comber, hiker, traveler, Giants fan, San Franciscan. All work on this blog is copyrighted material.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Migratory Habits of Arctic Terns

The migratory paths of arctic terns have long been somewhat strange to humans. The birds simply don’t take, what is in human terms, a direct path from the north to south pole.

No, terns don’t move from Point A to Point B in a linear fashion. Terns loop back and forth, practicing an almost revisonary method of flight, moving up and down longitudal lines and across latitudes in helixical patterns. Their internal sonar, (which is sometimes compromised by the vagaries of civilization) and the power of magnetism pull them, push them, compel them in their flight patterns. Yet any little wind can often blow this small bird with its enormous wing-span, this avian marathoner covers more territory than any other migratory creature on the planet, off course.

Terns just can't seem to take a direct route to any where. Sometimes this penchant for side-trips and aerial loopy-de-loops is a delight as it brings unexpected vistas and new possibilities never considered to the tern.

Yet other times, these often spontaneous flights can lead to disaster – can distract the tern from her true goal. She flies here and there, first pursuing this direction, then that, following one pull, then another. She is never sure which direction to take. She starts off north, then turns southeast, only to turn west and loop back north again. Then she may suddenly stop, in mid-air, and float on the currents, pondering which direction to take. As she hovers in mid-air, she may search the sea for clues, and then suddenly – she swoops off to the west again - flap/flap/flap - and gliding again, she drifts off toward some ill-defined destination - guided not by goal or direction, but some mysterious pull that even she cannot identify. Or sometimes, she is guided not at all, but is merely moving at the whim of the air currents, allowing external forces to dictate her path.

Of course, terns are also quite ferocious and persistent when actually focused on a goal (for example, a juicy piece of fish, particularly shrimp – a tern favorite). And when they are sure of their purpose, they are swift and accurate.

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10 Comments:

Blogger Jack K. said...

There is one thing I like about this tern, she is true to her word. She does what she says she will. Tiffany/i/ie better watch out. With your erratic flight plan s/he is inedible fish parts. tee hee

Nice posting. Wonderful metaphor for your perception of the universe at this time. Read The Law of Attraction it will surely give you insights. btw, it is a very easy read, yet thought provoking.

Think joyous thoughts. I always do, particularly when I take the opportunity to read your postings and comments. I try to do that daily.

A fan in Kansas.

March 19, 2007 4:14 AM  
Blogger Little Lamb said...

Bird, jack is a true fan of yours.

I think terns just like to explore. They don't have to punch a time clock, so why not enjoy and explore the world around them? So what if it doesn't make sense to us humans? They don't have to answer to us. Terns are neat birds.

March 19, 2007 4:17 PM  
Blogger Jack K. said...

Little lamb, you're correct on all counts as far as I am concerned.

Terns are neat birds. Little lambs ain't bad either.

March 19, 2007 5:21 PM  
Blogger Pete Bogs said...

this reads like a justification of a disorganized personality... or the tendency to ramble... well I say ramble on!

March 20, 2007 7:23 AM  
Blogger Jack K. said...

And stop for a pint now and then on the grand ramble. lol

March 20, 2007 7:25 AM  
Blogger boneman said...

To be sure, the picture posted looks to be a bird one would not monkey with.

But, it IS pretty!

March 20, 2007 4:17 PM  
Blogger /t. said...

terns
is flighty

/t.

March 21, 2007 3:16 PM  
Blogger K9 said...

/bark bark bark

looks like the formula works out great since theres still a ton of terns,,,i mean they didnt ever jump off a cliff en masse like lemmings. and, come to think of it have any of you seen a lemming?

if it anit broke,,,

good to see ya boyed!

/grrr

March 21, 2007 7:07 PM  
Blogger onandon said...

Good luck on your search for tasty morsels from other places, Bird.
You are my favourite Tern!

March 24, 2007 11:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

really cool, never would have thought of that! keep up the good work!

March 26, 2008 4:29 PM  

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