Long-tailed Jaegers are one of the species that birders come to Barrow to see. They nest on the Arctic tundra but are a very rare sight anywhere else because except when nesting they spend all of their lives flying over the ocean and rarely go near land.
A Long-tailed Jaeger on a nest.
Long-tailed Jaegers are known for dramatic swooping attacks on anything that approaches their nest. Here's a couple of ten year old boys who had no idea what was going to happen! They are a little unnerved at this point!
It takes a wide angle lens, and holding a hand out some times to get them to back off far enough to focus!
When the boys discovered the birds wouldn't actually hurt them, they found out this could be really fun.
This is the chick that hatched. At first is was totally motionless, but this shows what happened when we moved a few blades of grass out of the way to get a better shot. The little thing showed no fear at all, and expected any movement that close meant food would be provided!
Once the chick thought we were there to feed it, it paid very close attention to our every move.
When something actually does get right up on the nest, the adults back off and wait. This is bird photographer Bill Burt taking pictures of the chick up close. The chick can be seen just out from his hand. One adult Jaeger can be seen sitting some distance in the background. As soon as Bill moved more than two or three feet from the chick the adults returned.