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About Tern!

River Tern, Kabini

At the outset, we’d like to apologise for not having the will power to resist using this particular caption for this week’s story. It was just so deliciously tempting that we couldn’t help but dive right in to come up with the most obvious pun in the world! But hey…since this fortnight’s piece is ‘about the Tern’, we’ll get down to it without digressing into our creativity, or lack of it! Speaking of diving, the hero of this piece is adept at doing precisely that. If you were a fish swimming indolently in the Kabini River admiring the graceful swoop of the River Tern, we’d advise you to get a move on. Chances are, he’s admiring you in turn (pun not intended), and the size of his smile is directly proportional to how plump you are. If you’ve heeded our warning and lived up to the adage that discretion is the better part of valour, you’ll be fortunate to get a ring-side view as he plunge-dives perpendicularly and scoops up a less fortunate (and plumper) neighbour of yours into his yellow bill, before zooming out and swallowing him, mid-air. He then sets off for a postprandial rap session with his social club of fellow avian fishermen, on the sandbanks by the river, shooting the breeze, and, like fishermen everywhere, boasting about the size of the fish he caught. Speaking of size, this little fellow has a mammoth heart, and doesn’t shy away from confronting opponents several times larger. During breeding season, terns are fiercely territorial and are known to have even chased away rampaging elephants- a sight that has inspired those, including our photographers, who’ve been witness to the spectacle. If you’ve been inspired by our story of this large-hearted little bird, do share it and pass it around. After all, one ‘good tern’ deserves another!



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