Story last updated at 5/16/2012 - 1:58 pm
One thing we Arctic Terns must do is breed when we're out in the cold. Everyone is all over salmons, the fish that 'die' for love. Hey, we mate too! So, BOO, to you salmon lovers! The first step is looking for a handsome male, which shows interest in the things we Arctic Terns do. My name, by the way, is Ace, aka Band 204. Those humans. Tracking us day and night ... can't a bird get some privacy? One day we stopped to feed in the ocean, which humans thought was soooo cool. Err ... why is eating above an ocean cool? Anyway, after we ate, I found Band 186, aka: Oscar, and we mated. Now, pardon me for bragging, but we should be called 'birds of love' not those know-it-all doves. Seriously, what is so special about a dove? All they do is squawk, act like annoying pigeons, and poop all over your clothes. I had two beautiful children, I named them Raindrop and Dock.
So, I delayed the migration, but love is far more important. Once they learned to fly, we continued on our journey, singing in our lovely voices. (Another reason why we're better than doves.)
"Oh, we birds of the north, only seeing daylight, we get tracked by humans over day and night ... will we ever be free? Without plucking our feathers we're messy ... but will we be free from these bands attached to us? Will we ever escape ... those featherless hands ... that are so helpful (NOT!)... will we ever be free from these troubles that crowd us? Will we ... will we ... will we ... will we ever be free?
So, I continued to fly above land in case Raindrop and Dock needed to rest. They're very beautiful, you know. But one night, a hawk swooped down and caught Dock by the neck. Blood spattered over his feathers and plumped into the water below. Screeching, I hurled myself towards the hawk, but Oscar pulled me back, saying it wouldn't do any good but get myself caught and killed. Chirping sadly, I watched my dying son in almost the same agony. Raindrop was bawling, which had messed up her flight and she was now crashing towards the water, bound to drown. Not bearing to watch another chick die, I swooped down and helped her regain her balance. Then we flew upwards towards the warm skies, where the sun was even brighter. We twirled around happily, and finally arrived back from our migration, the reserved spot for our next mating ready for us. Chirping, I toddled over to a fit nest and lay down, shooing Raindrop away.
Soon we'll do it all over again ... proving ourselves more worthy than those bramble-brained salmon and know-it-all doves.
Garrett wrote these pieces for the 2011 International Migratory Bird Day, when she was 10 years old and in fourth-grade at Mendenhall River Community School. She is an avid writer and hopes to become an author and Illustrator. She is a protector of wildlife, large and small. Garrett wrote these pieces after being inspired at the Arctic Tern Festival last year.