ANTARCTIC SUMMER: Arctic Tern

Right now, it’s the beginning of summer at the South Pole, and there’s a new bloom of life in this frigid region. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

We’re listening to the calls of Arctic Terns, who are gathered together this month for their annual summer visit to Antarctica.

“One interesting thing is that sound travel very very far in the high polar regions. The terns, you can hear them for miles and miles.”

Rolf Bjelke and Deborah Shapiro had a chance to greet the sights and sounds of the polar summer after they spent the winter with their ship frozen in the Antarctic ice. Rolf recalls the sounds of the arriving terns.

“For me, it’s both a very happy time when the first Arctic Tern is coming back. It’s also a very annoying sound, because they sort of sound so aggressive and the tern seems to dislike almost any other animal down there.”

The terns will stay until the end of the Antarctic summer, around March, and then they’ll head for the far north to spend our summer in the Arctic Circle. That migration route gives the terns almost full time contact with the sun.

“It doesn’t experience night, except when it passes the tropics. They live in 24-hour daylight in Antarctica, and then when it starts to get around equinox, they disappear very quickly. And in I think less than a month, it makes it up to the high Arctic, where it then enjoys the next summer in 24-hour daylight.”

If you have a question or a comment about this or any of the other programs in our series, we’d like to hear from you. Our email address is pulse@igc.org. Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. I’m Jim Metzner.

ANTARCTIC SUMMER: Arctic Tern

Summertime at the southern pole brings with it the bittersweet sound of the Arctic Terns, who spend their years migrating between northern and southern summers.
Air Date:01/16/1998
Scientist:
Transcript:

Right now, it's the beginning of summer at the South Pole, and there's a new bloom of life in this frigid region. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

We're listening to the calls of Arctic Terns, who are gathered together this month for their annual summer visit to Antarctica.

"One interesting thing is that sound travel very very far in the high polar regions. The terns, you can hear them for miles and miles."

Rolf Bjelke and Deborah Shapiro had a chance to greet the sights and sounds of the polar summer after they spent the winter with their ship frozen in the Antarctic ice. Rolf recalls the sounds of the arriving terns.

"For me, it's both a very happy time when the first Arctic Tern is coming back. It's also a very annoying sound, because they sort of sound so aggressive and the tern seems to dislike almost any other animal down there."

The terns will stay until the end of the Antarctic summer, around March, and then they'll head for the far north to spend our summer in the Arctic Circle. That migration route gives the terns almost full time contact with the sun.

"It doesn't experience night, except when it passes the tropics. They live in 24-hour daylight in Antarctica, and then when it starts to get around equinox, they disappear very quickly. And in I think less than a month, it makes it up to the high Arctic, where it then enjoys the next summer in 24-hour daylight."

If you have a question or a comment about this or any of the other programs in our series, we'd like to hear from you. Our email address is pulse@igc.org. Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. I'm Jim Metzner.