Observations On The Colonies Of The Arctic Tern (Sterna Macrura Naumann) On The Fame Islands.



  • 1 A description is given of the colony of Arctic Terns {Sterna macrura Naumann) which was present in the spring of 1938 in St. Cuthbert's Cove on the Inner Fame Island, off the coast of Northumberland. About a thousand pairs of these birds were present, and they nested with equal success on several different types of ground.
  • 2 The eggs and young in this large colony were, on the average, much further advanced in development than were those in smaller colonies present on other islands.
  • 3 The behaviour of the birds to each other and to other species was recorded, and the pairs were shown to possess their own small breeding territories. The limits of these territories, after a period of learning, were also observed by the young birds up to and even after the time when they had begun to fly.
  • 4 The structure of the Arctic Tern colonies is compared with that of the colonies of other species of seabirds, and a series of examples is quoted which shows the increasing enslavement of the individual birds to a communal nesting system.