Last year and this year I have seen a number of Royal Terns in Brooklyn
banded with field-readable bands -- six this summer and early fall alone.
They have all been juveniles banded a month or two before I saw them, all
from one of two colonies in Virginia, either near Chincoteague or Hampton
City. Based on their behavior with the other terns around them, it seems
clear they are traveling with a parent or both parents. It is impossible to
know the origin of all the birds without field-readable bands, of course,
but it seems likely that many or most of the Royal Terns that appear on
Long Island in late summer are coming north from Virginia in search of bait
fish after their breeding season is over.

Others may have reached the same conclusion independently a long time
before me.


Joshua Malbin


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