Iceland – Attack of the Angry Birds


There are not a lot of wild things that want to kill you in Iceland.  No grizzly bears, no scorpions, no deadly snakes, no bison and even if an occasional polar bear floats over on an ice flow usually a hunter takes it out rather quickly.

But there are the suicidal sheep that seem to want to jump in front of cars every once in a while and the birds.   The biggest menace on the shoreline to a visitor’s sanity is the attacking angry birds.

The Arctic Terns protect their ground nesting areas by the flock.  The angry birds float overhead, scream at you and then when the air current is right, dive bomb you.

I got hit by one while at Jökulsárlón the Glacier Lagoon.  Why these crazy birds choose to nest next to a busy parking lot is beyond my knowledge.  We also got chased away from the cliffs around Hellissandur at the northwestern tip of Snæfellsnes peninsula in western Iceland.  Hellissandur is part of the Snæfellsbær municipality.

We camped at a nice little, new campground right with a view of the ocean in front us and a lava field behind us.  The bird attack zone was in walking distance from the campground.  There was also a little maritime museum next to the campground and a N1 for gas and snacks nearby.

So how do you stop being attacked by the birds?  The suggestions are to bring an umbrella or a stick.  The umbrella I understand but the stick?  Either you are suppost to hold the stick up high and the birds attack the stick instead of you or you are suppose to play Arctic Term baseball with it.

Arctic Tern - watch out for attack!
Arctic Tern – watch out for attack!

The Arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea) is a tern in the family Laridae. This bird has a circumpolar breeding distribution covering the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions of Europe, Asia, and North America (as far south as Brittany and Massachusetts).