jerry jackson
Photographed by Bette Jackson

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Source: Terns 2

Length of Segment: 00:01:07

Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. Terns and gulls are close relatives, but easily distinguished. Gulls are scavengers and predators that capture what they can on water or land, but gulls don't dive. Terns are consummate fish-eating birds that hover above water and dive in to capture prey. They also take other small animals, but always with the same diving approach. Gulls often rest floating on the water; terns never do. Gulls and terns loaf on piers or on the beach and their appearance allows us to distinguish one from the other. A gull stands upright with a rounded head, longer legs, and a heavy bill that is not sharply pointed. A tern is more sleek, seeming to hug the ground on its short legs. A tern often has a crest that seems slicked back and a dagger-like sharply pointed bill. A gull’s broader wings and tail allow it to sail effortlessly on coastal breezes. A tern’s long narrow pointed wings are perfect for speed and maneuvering, and its often forked tail allows intricate control of every dive.

'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.

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