I really like jaegers. (And no, I am not talking about shots of liquid evil that causes one to do unwise things.) I am talking about the remarkable birds that frequent the lakeshore during the fall and early winter. These are pelagic birds, normally found on the open sea. I had always wanted to see one, like a little kid wants to see Santa Claus. And this past weekend, I was able to view quite a few. Plus, I had great looks at two individuals. I was grinning like a Cheshire cat.
Pomarine Jaeger. Picture from Wikipedia.
There are three species of jaegers that can be seen in Indiana. One is the Parasitic Jaeger, Stercorarius parasiticus. We couldn't confirm the ID on one of the jaegers I saw, but one was most likely a parasitic, judging by size and field marks. Another is the Pomarine Jaeger, Stercorarius pomarinus. We saw one of these very well. And the third is the Long-tailed Jaeger, Stercorarius longicaudus. This one I have not seen yet, and hope to some day. Maybe this coming weekend :)
There are many reasons for my jaeger fascination. First of all, their body is built for speed and agility. Their wings are shaped almost like a falcon's, long and thin and tapered at the tips. This shape allows them to accelerate along the coast at top-notch speeds. They are very acrobatic, twisting and banking extreme turns. They have even shown the ability to execute a backward somersault when in pursuit of another bird.
Parasitic Jaeger. Photo from Wikipedia. Parasitc Jaegers are remarkably agile fliers.
Long-tailed Jaeger. Check out that tail! Photo from Wikipedia
How can one not love a kleptoparasitic funky pirate bird that does acrobatic tricks?! Keep your eye out for this winged wonder at a coast-line near you.