Photographer's Note

The image shows a group of tourists fending off attacking Arctic Terns on the island of Vigur; one of three islands that lie in Ísafjarðardjúp.
Ísafjarðardjúp is a large fjord in the Westfjords region of Iceland.
Vigur island is about 2 kilometres long and 400 metres wide and is home to many historic buildings including the only surviving windmill in Iceland, built in 1860.

The sticks shown in the image were meant to be held above your head so that the birds would attack the flag on the stick rather than you. The man with the orange back pack seemed to have worked out that the purpose for the stick was to whack the birds as they attacked. I saw him whack one to the ground. It was only trying to protect its nest.

There was a mowed path through the grass and tourists were supposed to stay on that path. When a nest with a couple of eggs was spotted just off the path, the herd of mental giants thronged around the nest without regard to the possibility that other nests might be underfoot. So disgustingly thoughtless.

Arctic Terns mate for life, and in most cases, return to the same colony each year. It is one of the most aggressive terns, fiercely defensive of its nest and young. It will attack humans and large predators, usually striking the top or back of the head. Although it is too small to cause serious injury to an animal of a human's size, it is still capable of drawing blood, and is capable of repelling many raptorial birds and smaller mammalian predators such as foxes and cats. The species is strongly migratory, seeing two summers each year as it migrates along a convoluted route from its northern breeding grounds to the Antarctic coast. Studies have shown average annual roundtrip migrations of about 70,900 km for birds nesting in Iceland and Greenland

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Additional Photos by Trevor Moffiet (trevormoffiet) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 212 W: 2 N: 578] (3112)
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