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I’ve heard some of the more sensational stories of hurricanes blowing birds way off course. But, I wasn’t sure what other avian coping mechanisms came into play when big storms hit. Here are links to a few pieces I found on how How Birds Deal With Hurricanes:
- Feathering the Storm – Slate Magazine
Because birds are so attuned to shifts in barometric pressure, they can often sense ahead of time when a storm is brewing. That advance warning leaves them with several options. Some try to outpace the hurricane, coasting ahead on the propulsion of the storm’s outermost winds. Others, especially pelagic or ocean-faring fowl, may take refuge in the calm eye of the weather system, entering at the edge of its spiral and working their way inward.
- Biologists Study Hurricanes’ Impact on Wildlife – Washington Post
Biologists who study birds couldn’t believe what they were seeing at their research lab in Williamsburg. Two pigeon-size shorebirds they tracked with tiny satellite transmitters were doing something no one had ever recorded. They were flying through 115-mph winds of a massive hurricane.
- How Do Hurricanes Affect Birds? – Audubon Magazine
When the storm reaches land, some of them may start fighting the winds. 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.
- Seven Things to Know About How Hurricanes Affect Wildlife – National Wildlife Federation Blog
Following a storm, birders and wildlife enthusiasts can help by keeping their eyes peeled for unusual or rare species that turn up. It is useful for wildlife agencies to hear about rare appearances. Wildlife rescue organizations should be contacted if someone sees a creature that was injured in a storm.
- What Happens to Birds When Hurricanes Hit? – eNature
Many birds get caught up in storm systems and are blown far off course, often landing in inhospitable places or simply arriving too battered and weakened to survive. Others, while not killed or displaced by storms, may starve to death because they are unable to forage while the weather is poor. The number of birds that die as a result of a major hurricanes may run into the hundreds of thousands.
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