[CT Birds] Storms - food for thought

jayne.amico at cox.net jayne.amico at cox.net
Thu Sep 2 11:32:58 EDT 2010

CT Birders -

I confess to having a very different outlook on what these storms mean to me.  My first and foremost concern is the impact it is going to have on bird populations, especially now during migration.

As many of you have come to learn birds can and do get caught up in the winds and are carried along, some until the storm diminishes.   These birds are then dumped in an exhausted state, completely depleted and starving and are now out of range. Keep in mind also that some, if not many of these birds, may of just made a long journey south and are now right back where they started from or worse! All of these scenarios can result in heavy mortality. 

Wilma a hurricane of 2005 dumped hundreds of chimney swifts and other aerial insectivores on the coast of Canada in mid October. By this time these birds should of been well out of the country and were now relocated in a cold climate that will not support their feeding style, and in the case of the chimney swifts the chimneys these birds chose to roost in were now actively being used and also resulted in high mortality.

The season of 2006 showed a dramatic decrease in the chimney swift population as a result of the devastation hurricane Wilma had on these birds. While this may be a natural disaster of which we have no control over and has happened many times in the past and  will in the future it is IMO nothing to celebrate but for me to worry about. 

I guess I just wanted to remind everyone that like the snowy owls who arrive in CT starving some winters in search of food,  so will the birds blown in by Earl. While you are out there birding looking for rarities keep in mind the poor exhausted condition that any birds blown in by the storm will arrive in.

Myself, I am going to do much praying that chimney swifts and all other passerines who are already declining in such alarming rates do not get caught up in Earl. 

Jayne Amico
Southington, CT

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