From Iceland — Rejoice! The Arctic Terns Have Arrived In Grímsey

Rejoice! The Arctic Terns Have Arrived In Grímsey

Published May 13, 2020

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Everyone’s favourite dive-bomber bird, the Arctic tern, has arrived at last in Grímsey, reports.

The Arctic tern engages in the longest migrations in the animal kingdom, flying over 70,000km roundtrip between Antarctica and the polar regions each year. Every summer, a great many return to Iceland to build nests and lay eggs on their cherished grounds. Grímsey is a popular destination for them.

These birds are particularly known in Iceland for being fiercely protective of their nesting grounds. They glide in circles high above their nests, and any animal or person unfortunate enough to stray anywhere near these grounds can expect to be divebombed. The birds will swoop down on you, and may even try to peck you, if you’re not too careful.

Fortunately, they’re also not especially bright. If you accidentally end up near their nesting grounds, or have no choice but to traverse them, you can usually psyche them out by lifting something above your head, such as a stick, which they will attack instead of you.

Below, you can see a video originally posted by Fuglaathugunarstöð Suðausturlands in 2016 of these birds gallivanting about in West Iceland.

(Video by Fuglaathugunarstöð Suðausturlands)

Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!

Show Me More!