17th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Natural World
Elegant Terns Mating Ritual

It was a beautiful windless, dead calm sunrise as we wedged our zodiac into the rocky shoreline of Isla Rasa, Bird Island a small flat island in the Gulf of California that is home to 95% of the worldÍs nesting HeermannÍs Gulls and Elegant Terns. During Springtime over 500,000 birds gather here to mate and nest. As we sat quietly bobbing about and taking photos of the Terns and Gulls coming and going. On occasion a Tern would return from sea with an anchovy and present it to their mate. After consuming the fish they would perform an elegant mating ritual.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 03.2018
Date Uploaded: 11.2019
Photo Location: Mexico
Camera: NIKON D5
Copyright: © Bill Klipp