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Birds in real bad storms: where do they go?

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Old Wednesday 24th August 2011, 03:30   #1
crazyfingers
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Birds in real bad storms: where do they go?

On the east coast of the US we have a hurricane on it's way. It's expected to go up the coast and maybe hit around New Jersey and keep going northeast as it weakens. It got me wondering what the birds do when the weather gets real bad.

I expect that ground birds just hunker down but do tree birds move to the ground? Would they fly 50-100 miles inland for the day and come back?

I'm not just thinking about the small ones but what also of the large ones? What would a red-tail hawk do in a 100 mile-per-hour wind? Find shelter I would hope. On the ground behind a big rock? The crows? I understand that they especially like to sleep in pine trees. Would they hunker down on the ground too?

Just thinking about this stuff as the storm is predicted to hit my area around Sunday August 28th*

(Subject to change I hope)
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Old Wednesday 24th August 2011, 07:49   #2
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In New Zealand we had one storm after another for about three weeks and some 300,000/500,000 seabirds, mostly prions wrecked. Bad weather can be a killer when its prolonged on land or sea if birds carn't move and avoid it.
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Old Friday 26th August 2011, 17:43   #3
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Animals seem to have a sixth sense about oncoming storms. It would be interesting to find out just when the birds start going either farther to sea or inland. I always like to watch brown pelicans. I wonder how they weather hurricanes?
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Old Saturday 27th August 2011, 00:57   #4
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Animals seem to have a sixth sense about oncoming storms. It would be interesting to find out just when the birds start going either farther to sea or inland. I always like to watch brown pelicans. I wonder how they weather hurricanes?
In Florida, I've seen hundreds of raptors and other large birds pass in a wave, going west to east, ahead of a weather front that brought gusty winds and downpours. I was on the Tamiami Trail at the time. Hirundines and swifts also passed in considerable numbers. One hypothesis is that the birds detect sudden changes in air pressure, but doubtless vision (and endogenous reactions) play their parts.
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Old Saturday 27th August 2011, 02:49   #5
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I'll be watching the birds as the weather gets worse.

As a point of note, this hurricane strikes me as terribly unusual.


Most hurricanes/cyclones/typhoons smash in at one place, go splat, die fast and head out as rain.

When was the last time a hurricane skidded up the coast and hit so many major cities along the way?

This is hitting along the most populated area of the country, not one place and splat, but along the coast for a 1000 miles.

Hit how many Cities?
http://i1211.photobucket.com/albums/...g?t=1314408298

Along the way: Norfolk, Newport News, Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, NYC Metro area including Delaware, New Jersey and through southern Connecticut, Providence, Boston. And tons of other cities along the way.

Man, I think of the people and the gulls.
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Old Saturday 27th August 2011, 07:25   #6
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I'll be watching the birds as the weather gets worse. As a point of note, this hurricane strikes me as terribly unusual. Most hurricanes/cyclones/typhoons smash in at one place, go splat, die fast and head out as rain. When was the last time a hurricane skidded up the coast and hit so many major cities along the way? This is hitting along the most populated area of the country, not one place and splat, but along the coast for a 1000 miles. Hit how many Cities?
http://i1211.photobucket.com/albums/...g?t=1314408298 Along the way: Norfolk, Newport News, Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, NYC Metro area including Delaware, New Jersey and through southern Connecticut, Providence, Boston. And tons of other cities along the way. Man, I think of the people and the gulls.
I gather from creationist, conspiracy theory and just plain crazy websites that this storm is to punish the sinful who have brought it on themselves by:

not going to church/being global warming swindlers/voting for Obama or just Democrat/believing in 'socialist' theories/worshipping the Devil/reading Harry Potter stories (delete as applicable)

Oh, and no, none of these sites have given a thought to the birds or the people...
MJB
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Old Saturday 27th August 2011, 07:51   #7
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Along the way: Norfolk, Newport News, Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, NYC Metro area including Delaware, New Jersey and through southern Connecticut, Providence, Boston. And tons of other cities along the way.
It is unusual, and I believe the frequency of such storms may be global warming related. However, as this tracker shows (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26295161.../#.TliNwV1XGUZ), Wash. D.C. and Baltimore areas are currently only expected to receive 40-50 mile an hour winds, so damage should be relatively light here. I'd expect the biggest concern for a heavily populated region is NYC area, since it is exposed to the possibility of a storm surge, which is often the most dangerous part of a hurricane. (BTW, Delaware is certainly not part of NYC metro area--it's south of Philadelphia.) Eye of the storm is forecasted to go inland after NYC, so should become relatively less dangerous if it follows that path.

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Old Saturday 27th August 2011, 08:16   #8
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Hi crazyfingers & all,

It's been ages since I last posted on BF, but since I live near the eastern coast of the USA, the subject of your question has always interested me.

I have tried to link a previous thread (Hurricane Gustav '08) on this topic, but I'm not sure if my 'linking skills' are adequate (if not, then hopefully someone with better skills can edit).
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=122100

I really do believe that the answer to this question depends on which side of the hurricane the birds are on when the hurricane hits land.

In the norhtern hemisphere the winds of these storms are travelling in a counterclockwise direction, so for the eastern coast of the USA:

1. Birds tend to be blown inland where the leading edge (northeasterly/easterly winds) of the hurricane nears or 'strikes' land.
This is also usually the quandrant of the hurricane with the strongest winds (significantly), due to the northerly direction that the hurricane usually takes.

2. Birds tend to be blown out to sea where the trailing edge (southwesterly/westerly winds) of the hurricane nears or 'strikes' land.

In both cases (and variations in between) many birds are relocated several hundred miles away from their point of origin.
  • Already (over the last couple of days) there have been several unusual reports in the interiors of the Carolinas & Virginia of sea birds that are quite obviously at least a few hundred miles away from where one would normally expect to see them.
  • Land birds (such as passerines) frequently land on ships that are hundreds of miles away from land. They are almost always exhausted and have been presumably 'blown out to sea' by storms.
I suspect that many raptors are heavily impacted by these storms, especially when the storms hit during the night when most are roosting.

These storms tend to devastate a swath of land, felling trees in their direct path and stripping off all of the foliage of the trees in the adjacent areas that are not part of the 'direct hit.'

As I mentioned in the other thread, most birds in the path of the hurricane are in for 'THE MOTHER OF ALL BEATINGS!'

I am very concerned for the well being of our feathered friends.
I am also very concerned for the well being of the 50 million (more or less) people that will be impacted by this storm.

I fear that all living things in the path of this hurricane are going to be severely challenged.

God bless them all!

Ron Davidson

Last edited by Boomer : Saturday 27th August 2011 at 09:01. Reason: The usual for me: punctuation, spelling, grammar, etc.
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Old Saturday 27th August 2011, 15:27   #9
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Originally Posted by MJB View Post
I gather from creationist, conspiracy theory and just plain crazy websites that this storm is to punish the sinful who have brought it on themselves by:

not going to church/being global warming swindlers/voting for Obama or just Democrat/believing in 'socialist' theories/worshipping the Devil/reading Harry Potter stories (delete as applicable)

Oh, and no, none of these sites have given a thought to the birds or the people...
MJB
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Old Saturday 27th August 2011, 15:50   #10
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Well, I can tell you that with gusts at 70mph early this a.m. the birds were all out feeding. Holding on for dear life but feeding
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Old Saturday 27th August 2011, 17:16   #11
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Originally Posted by Boomer View Post
Hi crazyfingers & all,


I really do believe that the answer to this question depends on which side of the hurricane the birds are on when the hurricane hits land.

In the norhtern hemisphere the winds of these storms are travelling in a counterclockwise direction, so for the eastern coast of the USA:

1. Birds tend to be blown inland where the leading edge (northeasterly/easterly winds) of the hurricane nears or 'strikes' land.
This is also usually the quandrant of the hurricane with the strongest winds (significantly), due to the northerly direction that the hurricane usually takes.
I think what you're saying is that the east side tends to have stronger apparent wind to a person (or bird) on the ground because the circular airspeed of the hurricane adds to the northern travel speed of the entire system whereas on the west side the circular travel speed and the northern speed of the system partly cancel each other out.

Makes sense to me.

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2. Birds tend to be blown out to sea where the trailing edge (southwesterly/westerly winds) of the hurricane nears or 'strikes' land.
I suppose for an ocean duck, gull or cormorant it doesn't have to be a disaster to get flung 200 miles out to sea, so long as it knows what way to go to get back. But I'd hate to be a sparrow or a robin flung out to sea.

Quote:

In both cases (and variations in between) many birds are relocated several hundred miles away from their point of origin.
  • Already (over the last couple of days) there have been several unusual reports in the interiors of the Carolinas & Virginia of sea birds that are quite obviously at least a few hundred miles away from where one would normally expect to see them.
  • Land birds (such as passerines) frequently land on ships that are hundreds of miles away from land. They are almost always exhausted and have been presumably 'blown out to sea' by storms.
I suspect that many raptors are heavily impacted by these storms, especially when the storms hit during the night when most are roosting.
Hard to know what would be best for a land bird. Hunker down or take flight. I'd guess that evolution would give them an instinct for what's best but I wonder what that is...

Anyway, for this particular storm there is not a lot of land on the east side. Most flinging would be to inland.
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Old Saturday 27th August 2011, 19:51   #12
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Well, I'll tell you one thing, the hurricane is annoying me right now because the other members of the household insisted I take down my hummingbird feeder. They figure it'll somehow turn into a missile. Never mind the fact that the wind in my area is only supposed to reach around 40 mph (65 mph gusts), they just wouldn't listen. Wouldn't even let me just tape it up. So inside it came.

I'm not particularly worried for the hummingbirds' safety; I know they'll be fine. I just hope they haven't given up on me and left by the time I get the feeder back up tomorrow morning!
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Old Saturday 27th August 2011, 21:27   #13
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http://wild.enature.com/blog/what-ha...urricanes-hit/
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Old Sunday 28th August 2011, 03:37   #14
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That's a sad story overall. Quite sad. But I do accept that it's true that for most species, this is natural and they can deal with it.
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Old Sunday 28th August 2011, 03:42   #15
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Well, I'll tell you one thing, the hurricane is annoying me right now because the other members of the household insisted I take down my hummingbird feeder. They figure it'll somehow turn into a missile. Never mind the fact that the wind in my area is only supposed to reach around 40 mph (65 mph gusts), they just wouldn't listen. Wouldn't even let me just tape it up. So inside it came.

I'm not particularly worried for the hummingbirds' safety; I know they'll be fine. I just hope they haven't given up on me and left by the time I get the feeder back up tomorrow morning!
I took mine down today for a while. The ants had found it. A line across the garage. Later I saw the hummingbird around looking for it so I put it back.

It's on the corner of the detached garage. I go there a lot. If it looks in danger of smashing itself tomorrow I'll take it down. If not it will stay up. But I doubt that the hummingbirds will be out much past noon tomorrow. The 40-50 MPh wind is due by then.
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Old Sunday 28th August 2011, 16:44   #16
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We have gusts of wind 45-55 up to 65 mile per hour according to the weatherman.

The sparrows and other birds are not to be seen but the hummingbirds are out as usual.
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Old Sunday 28th August 2011, 20:57   #17
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Check out this list from friday from a reservoir in the piedmont of VI (fairly well inland)

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S7177009

For those too lazy to click the link, observers pulled out three species of Pterodroma, 2-3 species of shearwater, 2 species of Jaegar, Sooty Tern, and several other unusual tern species for an inland site

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Old Sunday 28th August 2011, 23:38   #18
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NARBA reports a White-tailed Tropicbird was spotted in MANHATTEN!!!
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Old Sunday 28th August 2011, 23:42   #19
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One thing I found really surprising was that early yesterday a.m. at 6:00 a.m. I got up to let the dog out and I put the backyard flood lights on. Although it wasn't raining hard at that point the wind was still about a straight 50 mph with gusts over 60. Well within a minute of my putting on the lights, I could not believe the number of birds that came down to feed. ( I had wired all the feeders to the branches the week before) Even the hummers who normally fight each other off were feeding at the same feeders. It was a hard night for them I guess
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Old Monday 29th August 2011, 01:51   #20
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One thing I found really surprising was that early yesterday a.m. at 6:00 a.m. I got up to let the dog out and I put the backyard flood lights on. Although it wasn't raining hard at that point the wind was still about a straight 50 mph with gusts over 60. Well within a minute of my putting on the lights, I could not believe the number of birds that came down to feed. ( I had wired all the feeders to the branches the week before) Even the hummers who normally fight each other off were feeding at the same feeders. It was a hard night for them I guess
Day birds feeding by floodlight?
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Old Monday 29th August 2011, 01:59   #21
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Not normally, that's why I was so surprised. I guess the horrible night of tropical storm winds and heavy rain did them in and they were needing some nourishment.
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Old Monday 29th August 2011, 02:12   #22
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Not normally, that's why I was so surprised. I guess the horrible night of tropical storm winds and heavy rain did them in and they were needing some nourishment.
I guess so.

I didn't see any regular birds until around 4pm today when it was clearly winding down and all of a sudden several dozen sparrows came out of a stand of hemlocks all at once to forage.

Later I saw two grackles flying above the treetops clearly struggling against a strong and variable cross-wind.

But the hummingbirds! We have a pair living here somewhere. I saw them around more than I ever have before. They were out all day, even in the worst of it this morning and they seemed to actually be playing in the wind. They would fly together, twisting and turning around each other going all over the place in the gusts.

Though so small, I guess I can imagine that above all other birds, hummingbirds would be able to instantly adjusting to changing winds. Pretty wild.
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Old Monday 29th August 2011, 23:13   #23
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Check out this list from friday from a reservoir in the piedmont of VI (fairly well inland)

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S7177009

For those too lazy to click the link, observers pulled out three species of Pterodroma, 2-3 species of shearwater, 2 species of Jaegar, Sooty Tern, and several other unusual tern species for an inland site

This list was from Hurricane Fran in 1996 ...
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Old Tuesday 30th August 2011, 02:35   #24
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oof...someone posted that on surfbirds with a reference that it was this most current hurricane
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