Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: Least Tern Family

Posted 4 Comments

During my final visit at the Least Tern colony this year, I found a very special family. A very attentive set of parents was watching over a day-old chick, an hours-old chick, and one remaining egg. I immediately dubbed the kids “Yesterday,” “Today,” and “Tomorrow”. Come meet them with me…

Least Tern with Tiny Chicks
Least Tern with Tiny Chicks

Mom was very careful taking care of her babies. She let Yesterday come out as the sun sank on the horizon. She kept Today pretty close to her. It took me a couple of hours to get a photo of the smaller chick, still wet from his egg.

Least Terns Feeding Chicks
Least Terns Feeding Chicks

Dad came in often with food. Yesterday showed great interest in every fish. Today was a little harder to convince. He didn’t seem to believe that the giant (to him) fish could actually go down his throat. Dad stood there helplessly, fish in beak, looking at Mom as if to say, “Now what do I do? The little one won’t eat!”

Mom’s answer was to turn Tomorrow’s egg and continue to brood Today closely. It was Dad’s job to feed Today. Which he did, eventually.

Least Tern Mom and Babies
Least Tern Mom and Babies

At one point Yesterday wiggled out from under Mom and went exploring. He didn’t go far, though. He did a cute little nose-to-nose with Mom while Today yawned under Mom’s wing.

Least Tern with Just-Hatched Chick
Least Tern with Just-Hatched Chick

Mom kept her newest hatchling very close to herself. I laid in the sand for several hours and only got a handful of moments when Today was visible. As evening approach, his feathers dried a little. It’s hard to believe that he’ll be flying within a month!

As the sun started to set, Mom stood up to stretch her legs. It was my first chance to clearly see Yesterday and Today huddled around Tomorrow’s egg…

Least Tern Family
Least Tern Family

Mom’s break didn’t last for long. She quickly settled back down on top of her little family. I had to tear myself away from these precious little birds. They were a joy to observe.

Least Terns: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
Least Terns: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Want to learn more about nature photography at Black Skimmer Colonies?

Check out my Black Skimmer Colonies page with more information about the location, map, website, photography tips, etc. It is archived by date so you can see my images from previous visits. Maybe you'll be inspired for your own trip!

Planning a trip to Florida? Don't miss my Central Florida Bird Photography Locations reference guide!

4 thoughts on “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: Least Tern Family

Did you like this post? Leave me a comment about it!