Photographs of A Ternery of Least Terns in Biloxi


The collective noun for terns in general is a ternery and for Least Terns specifically it is a straightness. Now I’ve scratched my head in the past over the origin of these words and this one sure has me stumped. If you have an opinion about how the bird word nerds came up with that one, be sure to let me know.

I was in Biloxi, MS recently and took the time to photograph the Least Terns that call the beaches there home. Every spring the terns nest on the beaches surrounded by 1000s of beach goers. Fortunately, the city does block off the areas that the birds are using for a rookery. If you do photograph the birds be sure to respect the boundaries and let the little guys have some space.

You can see all of my tern images and order prints…HERE.

In case you were curious:

  • Least Tern nicknames include “little striker” and “sea swallow”
  • Least terns are the smallest member of the gull and tern family.
  • Length 8.3–9.1 in (21–23 cm) Wingspan 18.9–20.9 in (48–53 cm) Weight 1.1–1.6 oz (30–45 g)
  • They prefer sandy beaches for nesting, but will use a flat gravel roof of a building.
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Here is a map of the location fo the terns. These birds are endangered and so please respect their habitat and give them space. If you don’t have a long enough lens, don’t approach the birds, just enjoy the show.

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