Friday, November 2, 2012

Hurricane Sandy and the Birds

I found myself wondering this week, as I sat without power and heat, how birds and wildlife were dealing with Hurricane Sandy.

One story I found online from discusses some of the rare visitors that the storm swept into our area. In New York’s Finger Lakes Region, a Ross’s gull was sighted. This small, dove-like bird is seldom seen outside of the Arctic.
Seabirds likely get pulled into a hurricane’s spiral, and then move into its calm eye to ride out the storm. “When the storm reaches land, some of them may start fighting the winds,” avian expert Kenn Kaufman tells Audubon in a Q&A about birds and hurricanes. “Others may go with it and travel with the eye until the hurricane dissipates. The majority of seabirds, if they are not too weakened from having flown for so long without food, will probably find their way back to shore quickly. They have great powers of navigation.”
On the other hand, using satellite transmitters, it was revealed that whimbrels don’t try to avoid or ride out hurricanes but actually force their way through the storms.

A northern gannet - which spends most of its life at sea - spotted in West Fairview, PA.

Did you notice any unusual wildlife activity in your area during the hurricane? Post a comment below and let us know.


eBird has resources about birds that Hurricane Sandy blew in

Get suggestions for the best places to see birds, broken down by region

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