Midsummer in Anchorage is a raucous time among the city’s lakes and along its coastal perimeters, as the eggs of songbirds, shorebirds, seabirds, and waterfowl hatch and avian offspring make the rapid transition from nestling to fledgling.

With families to watch and feed and protect, now is the brief but exhausting time of aggressive parenting. And among the water birds that seasonally inhabit Anchorage’s landscape, there is no more protective parent than the Arctic tern. They are fierce defenders of their young, as anyone who’s approached their nesting grounds can attest. Over the years I have seen them fearlessly attack gulls, ravens, humans, a northern harrier, and even a crane that came too close to nesting grounds.

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