Happy Feathers Day...

     No, I didn’t misspell it. Went to the beach to help watch the birds again. The Royal Terns have hatched and are already out on the beach. The Laughing Gull chicks are getting larger and starting to grow feathers over the down. Growing feathers is a good thing for them because they can start to regulate their body heat more efficiently. The “down side” is those wing feathers are heavy. One poor little Laughing Gull chick came walking up to my chair with its wings hanging down like it was too tired to hold them up. It looked up at me as if to say “Mister, these feathers and “wingy things” are heavy, can I rest a while under the shade of your chair?” It did so while I sipped my coffee.

     Royal Terns by the thousands nest on the sand dunes and the chicks have started hatching. Royal Terns don’t build nest, they just make a “scrape” or hollowed out indention in the sand to lay their eggs. The pair defecates around the rim and after a few weeks it hardens and makes a small barrier against flooding. The chicks can leave the scrape and wander about after only one day. And wander they do indeed. The wet tidal sand provides some cool relief on the beach as well as pools of water at low tide for the parents to get their daily baths. The parents and chicks gather in groups called a “creche”. While the parents fly to the surf zone looking for food, other adults will guard the chicks, which are called “downys”. A parent will only feed its own young and probably recognize it by its call. The oldest known Royal Tern was at least 30 years old found in Belize in 2013 and was banded in North Carolina in 1983 (Source: Cornell Lab of Ornithology).

     Summer officially begins at 0634 EDT today. School is out and many of you will indeed take time off and seek refuge to relax by the sea or some lakeshore as you enjoy the summer days. Just remember that our feathered friends are there too and many of them are still growing feathers so one day they can fly. Good thing I am not a bird. It would take a whole lot of feathers to get me off the ground.  Blessings. Harry

On the Fifth Day God created every winged bird according to its kind and said be fruitful and multiply. The Royal Terns and Laughing Gulls surely obeyed.

It is now officially summer and it sure feels like it...Mayport Shrimper on a lazy hazy summer day.

A Ruddy Turnstone looking for tidbits on the beach..

This little Laughing Gull was hot and had heavy wings with its new feathers..it came up to me and just set under my chair to escape the heat. 

Survival for a Laughing Gull is no laughing matter. Although this one now has some feathers, some bird has pecked its head. 

Wanna fish there good looking?...Royal Tern courtship display behavior looking for a mate.

Black Skimmer display behavior..

Momma don't you walk so fast..recently banded Oystercatcher chick and watchful parent

Proud Mamma..Royal Terns usually hatch one or two chicks..

Royal Terns and chicks gather in what is called a "creche" for protections..

Royalty wants fed..Royal Tern pairs will only feed their own chicks. They recognize it by call. 

The parent Royal Terns bring in lots of food for the hungry chicks

Bringing home the bacon (fish)..this fish looks like it has already been sampled..Happy Feathers Day to all...

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