Caspian Tern and Black Skimmer in Newfoundland

TitleCaspian Tern and Black Skimmer in Newfoundland
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1959
AuthorsTordoff HB, Southern WEdward
JournalThe Wilson Bulletin

On July 10, 1958, Tordoff and an ornithology class from UMBS found a single pair of Caspian Terns (Hydroprogne caspia) nesting in a large colony of Ring-billed Gulls (Larus delawarensis) at Rogers City, Presque Isle County, Michigan. These terns very likely were the same individuals found nesting there in 1957 (Pettingill, 1958. Jack-Pine Warbler, 183-184). With the adult terns we found two large young capable of short flights. We captured and banded (FWS 566-32953) one of the young. On September 30, 1958, this tern was shot by Mr. Edwin Keeping at Boxey, Fortune Bay, Newfoundland. Southern wrote to Keeping to confirm the information received from the US FWS Bird Banding Office. The recovery date sent to us by this office was October 9, which seems to be the date the report was received rather than the date the bird was taken. In addition to supplying details on the tern, Mr. Keeping also sent to us for identification part of another bird--the bill and anterior part of the vrown and face of a Black Skimmer (Rynchops nigra), probably a male juding by bill size. Keeping had taken the skimmer at Boxey on September 30, 1958. The specimen has been sent to the National Museum of Canada for permanent preservation. The Caspian Tern is an "uncommon summer resident" in Newfoundland and probably breeds in the Fortune Bay area, but the northeastward journey of our banded bird is noteworthy. It is possible, of course, that the tern was carried to Newfoundland from some coastal point to the south by 1958's hurricane Helene. The Black Skimmer, judging by records available for the Fifth Edition (1957) of the A.O.U. Check-list, has not been reported previously from this province. However, W. Earl Godfrey informs us that over two dozen Black Skimmers were seen alive or found dead in Newfoundland in late September and early October, 1958, displaced victims of the same hurricane Helene.