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13th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Natural World
Arctic Tern Feeding

This Arctic Tern was making slow passes over a shallow sand bar over and over again. It flew very slow (as seen by the high angle of attack of the wings and the flared tail to generate max lift), close to the water, into the wind, with the sun behind it. As the bird's shadow raced across the bottom just in front of the bird, it would spook the baitfish which would leap out of the water to escape the approaching shadow. Unfortunately, many would leap right into the mouth of the feeding bird.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 06.2014
Date Uploaded: 11.2015
Photo Location: Ship Bottom, New Jersey, United States of America
Copyright: © Bill Purdy