Arctic Terns

This passage is about how arctic terns migrate across the globe every year.

Lexile Level: 640L

Categories: People & Places Animals & Nature

Imagine a globe. Now find the Atlantic Ocean on it. Starting at the North Pole, draw a giant figure-eight over the Atlantic, reaching all the way down to the South Pole. This is the annual flight path of some arctic terns. Terns have the longest migration of any bird on the planet. Some fly over 22,000 miles every year. Mostly they fly over the open ocean. As you might expect, terns will eat almost any kind of fish they can find. A tern will hover nearly motionless over the water to spot its prey. It plunges into the water. When it comes out, there is a fish in its beak. Arctic terns look much like seagulls. Their heads are black and their beaks are red. But their bodies are otherwise white. When they reach their nesting grounds, thousands of other terns are there. They must all be exhausted!


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