Least Terns are our smallest North American tern. They nest in large colonies, usually on sandy beaches. Least Terns are known for their fearless defense of their colonies during breeding season. They will mercilessly attack an intruder, striking repeatedly dive-bombing it, and striking it with their bills, Least Terns will even intentionally defecate on an intruder with a well aimed strike. I am fortunate enough to census Least, Common, and Roseate Tern colonies during breeding season. Because of this, I am the subject of attack by these birds on a regular basis. This particular bird was on a crash course with my face. Usually they pull away at the last second, but you can never be too sure!
June 11, 2011