White tern (Gygis alba)

This amazing looking bird is one of many breeding on the small island named Bird Island – the northernmost of the Seychelles islands. It is a privately owned island and how amazing that is for the birds! Before the current owners purchased it, it was mismanaged to the max by people utilizing it as a coconut plantation, which made it unsuitable to the large numbers of birds that used the flat island as their breeding location.

After decades of slowly returning to a natural state, the number of birds have also increased on the island, and so has the number of human visitors from around the world. Me included.

Here the birds are not regarding humans as a threat in any way. Thus you will be able to see them up close, and they will happily sit on your porch, table or other place they find suitable. Sometimes the owners also have to move eggs from unsuitable locations on the buildings, and I was shown a coconut husk used as a relocation for a white tern that had placed the egg on a ledge that it would most likely fall off. Amazingly the tern returned next year and laid its egg on the coconut husk chosen by the humans!

It is amazing to walk amongst so many birds that simply do not care about your approach, other than being stepped on if you do not pay attention to where you are walking. You can look closely at their natural behaviour, and also getting to know their favourite resting places as is the case for the tern in this photo.

Every morning and evening, and sometimes in between, this couple would return to this very perch to strengthen their bond through preening and vocalizations.

At night you fall asleep to the sounds of countless birds – it is never silent on bird island!

White tern (Gygis alba)

White tern (Gygis alba)

White tern (Gygis alba)

White tern (Gygis alba)

It sounds like this:

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