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Foster and Kreitzman - Seasons of Life - Arctic terns



Type of Spiritual Experience


The function 'migration' – the movement of populations between regions where conditions are alternately favourable and unfavourable is that of a large number of species.  Birds, turtles, whales, penguins, insects, seals  travel to breed or feed.


A description of the experience

Seasons of Life – Russell G Foster and Leon Kreitzman

 Arctic terns [sterna paradisaea] fly some 32,000 km each year as they travel from their winter sites in south polar regions to their north polar breeding sites and back again.  This route back and forth may involve the circumnavigation of the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans depending on the sub-population.  The bar-tailed godwit [limosa lapponica baueri] manages a 11,500 kilometre migration non-stop!  A tracked gidwit flew from Alaska back to New Zealand in 8 days....

Green turtles [Chelonia mydas] migrate more than 2,000 km across open ocean from their feeding area off the coast of Brazil to their nesting area on the isolated Ascension Island, a tiny island less than 10 km wide.  By synchronising their breeding, the near simultaneous hatch of hundreds of thousands of young overloads, or 'gluts' , the relatively few predators that can live on Ascension.  Many of the newborns get eaten, but far more make it to sea.

The source of the experience

Foster and Kreitzmann

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps