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In Praise Of The Arctic Tern

For making the longest flight ever ­recorded and surviving to tell the tale of their incredible 96,000-km journey

In Praise Of The Arctic Tern
outlookindia.com
2016-06-23T20:03:34+0530

Plush planes with 180-degree beds and pay-through-your-nose fares have made air travel mighty fun but at the end of a long flight, rare is the member of the exclusive club of homo ­sapiens who doesn’t wail about jet lag. Raise your right hand in salute to the Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea) which has made the longest flight ever ­recorded, from the Farne Islands in Britain to Antarctica—and back—and survived to tell the tale of their incredible 96,000-km journey. The 28 birds fitted with tiny transmitters all took the same route, over West Africa and the Indian Ocean, but once they entered their destination, they drifted apart and did their own thing. Job done, the terns reassembled and returned by the same route, their black hats and red stockings not a whit out of place. Even Jennifer Aniston and Nicole Kidman, the faces that adorn airline ads, wouldn’t have been able to ­manage that in their first-class seats.

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