Fairy Terns

 By Cherryl…

My favorite thing about Saipan is the beautiful white birds that fly around me while I am walking on the path by the beach. They are nearly see-thru when the sun is on them and I am looking up at them flying by. The front edge of the wing has bones I feel like I can see, while the rest is beautiful shiny white feathers. They have very black eyes and the rest of the bird is very white.

The wings are swept back like a fighter plane, thin, aerodynamic, fast looking.


There are often groups of 3 or 4 flashing around the trees or above the ocean. At different angles they disappear and reappear in silver flashes. 

A friend in Tinian said he likes these birds, he called them fish birds, because when he goes out fishing he watches where they are and finds schools of fish there. 

These terns are related to Fairy Terns in New Zealand, but those have dark heads sometimes.  Maybe these are Saipan Fairy Terns.

When Bruce and I went out to get pictures of these birds he flew the drone. The Fairy Terns did NOT like the drone at a specific altitude. Down low near the ground was ok, up high, like 300 ft, was ok. But about tree top level was not ok. I read that they lay their eggs in the crook of the tree – no nest. And they protect their young vigorously. When the drone was at that altitude 15 or 20 birds would suddenly appear flying around the drone and dive bombing it!


Here is a link to an article about these Terns. CNMI stands for Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands. It is the islands north of Guam.


One comment

  1. Interesting! Have you seen our friends Sharon and Leonard? They are in Guam, but I know there are some excursions back and forth. Have fun!

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