A photographer catches an endangered species' endearing moment.
A SUMMER SURPRISE unfolded on New Jersey’s Long Beach Island when photographer Melissa Groo spotted an oddly shaped least tern on the sand. Peering through her telephoto lens—safely distant from the birds, which are endangered in the state—Groo realized that two tiny hatchlings were nestled under the parent’s wings, a sight this wildlife photographer had never seen before. “People react to this image emotionally,” says Groo. “I call it the grumpy fish face, because so many people see that. They think it’s endearing.”
A conservation photographer, Groo has seen “some alarming drops in wildlife abundance,” particularly among songbirds. She’s also seen an explosion of interest in wildlife photography. “When people value having wildlife around as a way of feeding the soul and the eye,” she says, “they begin to care about not just the animal but the habitat it needs to survive.” All that interest, however, can stress animals if people aren’t careful. “We’re all putting pressure on these creatures,” says Groo, who teaches photographers to keep a safe distance and always put the welfare of animals ahead of getting a great photograph.
The National Wildlife Federation is providing resources to help families and caregivers across the country provide meaningful educational opportunities and safe outdoor experiences for children during these incredibly difficult times.Learn More
President and CEO Collin O’Mara reveals in a TEDx Talk why it is essential to connect our children and future generations with wildlife and the outdoors—and how doing so is good for our health, economy, and environment.Watch Now
Ditch the disposables and make the switch to sustainable products.Shop Now
Search, discover, and learn about wildlife. Anywhere, any time.Get the Apps
More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 52 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.