Five Reasons to Love the Arctic Tern

Call up the Guinness Book of World Records! In the news this morning, we learned that a tiny bird from the Farne Islands, in England, has logged the longest migration ever recorded. The Arctic tern’s journey to Antarctica and back was recorded as a total of 59,650 miles—that’s more than twice the circumference of the planet. Astounding!

Here are five reasons that I love the Arctic Tern (and I hope you will, too)!

  1. Obviously, Arctic Terns are famous as long-distance fliers. Some Arctic Terns may migrate farther than any other birds, going from the high Arctic to the Antarctic.
  2. They redefine what it means to be a world traveler. The Arctic Tern’s migrations travel to every ocean, and to the vicinity of every continent.
  3. Their migration takes them through the beautiful Chukchi Corridor—a 50-mile wide strip of water offshore of northwest Alaska. The Alaska Coastal Current flows through the Corridor, and so does nearly every form of Arctic wildlife, from year-round residents to migrants.
  4. The Arctic Tern is small, but mighty!! They weigh only 0.22 pounds, are only a foot long and have a wingspan of about two and a half feet.
  5. I saved the best for last! Let’s do the math on how far Arctic Terns will travel during their lifetime. Arctic Terns can live between 15 and 30 years, meaning the record-breaking Tern could fly more than 1.8 million miles over its lifetime. That is the rough equivalent of four round trips to the moon.


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