Few Arctic Terns Have Arrived in Iceland Skip to content

Few Arctic Terns Have Arrived in Iceland

The first Arctic terns of the year were spotted at Ósland in Höfn, southeast Iceland, on April 25, two days later than the average arrival date for the migrant bird, and since then only a few birds have arrived.


An Arctic tern. Photo by Geir Ólafsson.

“Arctic terns have arrived in most parts of the country but it doesn’t seem like there are many of them,” commented Brynjúlfur Brynjólfsson of the Bird Observation Center of Southeast Iceland to Morgunblaðið.

“The entire stock hasn’t arrived because there are northerly winds and it is a little cold and so the birds remain out in the ocean. We have spotted 500 Arctic terns at Ósland and a large flock was seen by Vopnafjörður before last weekend. But we could need some more birds,” he continued, adding that he finds the birdlife to be rather quiet this spring.

Jóhann Óli Hilmarsson, chairman of the bird conservation society Fuglavernd, agreed, saying there are very few Arctic terns in the southwestern region.

“The Arctic tern often arrives early in Álftanes but now there are just a few birds flying around,” he said, blaming the northerly winds. “It has happened before that the tern arrives late when there are strong northerly winds.”

“Lack of food may have an impact as well,” Jóhann added. “There have also been few arrivals of other bird species like dunlin and robin.”

Click here to read more about the troubles facing seabirds in Iceland.


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