Doesn't it feel great when you get everything in the right place after a good preen? This mixed flock of gulls, terns, and shorebirds got into the preening mood as I was watching it one February morning on Sanibel Island, Florida. One moment they were napping, then one bird started preening and its neighbors decided that was a really good idea, so they started preening, too. I captured about 10 seconds of the action on video.
In this flock are the following species: laughing gull, ring-billed gull, royal tern, Forster's tern, Sandwich tern, and red knot. I love that the birds kept on preening even as the two humans walked by just feet away.
Bill Thompson III is the editor of Bird Watcher's Digest by day. He's also a keen birder, the author of many books, a dad, a field trip leader, an ecotourism consultant, a guitar player, the host of the "This Birding Life" podcast, a regular speaker/performer on the birding festival circuit, a gentleman farmer, and a fungi to be around. His North American life list is somewhere between 667 and 669. His favorite bird is the red-headed woodpecker. His "spark bird" was a snowy owl. He has watched birds in 25 countries and 44 states. But his favorite place to watch birds is on the 80-acre farm he shares with his wife, artist/writer Julie Zickefoose. Some kind person once called Bill "The Pied Piper of Birding" and he has been trying to live up to that moniker ever since.