A Caspian Tern and Two Cormorants

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

We had a Caspian Tern visit our pond last week, flying up and down the length of the pond until it spotted a fish and perfectly executed an aerial dive to grab it. Although Caspian Terns probably breed in Illinois and Indiana (near the lower portion of Lake Michigan) and we have seen this tern species at other lakes or ponds in the area, we haven't seen this gull-like species here at Knoch Knolls Park before. It's large size, elegant coloration and continuous flight was impressive!

The same day, we also had two Double-Crest Cormorants hanging out in the pond. Cormorants tend to be easily spooked and fly off when people are around. But these two were busy, preening, or cleaning their feathers, on the partially submerged log in the pond. They are also known for holding their wings out to their sides, like the photo shown above, to dry them off. Like terns, cormorants are diving birds that mostly eat fish. But they swim at the surface and then dive down to grab their prey.

To learn more about Caspian Terns, click here.

To learn more about Double-Breasted Cormorants, click here.