Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Vagrant Birds from Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene Reaches New York City / Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project
Tropical cyclones like Hurricane Irene are well-known among birders for carrying numerous birds far from their normal ranges. Aerial waterbirds – those that earn their living on the wing over open ocean – are particularly prone to displacement. The prospect of seeing storm-blown birds, especially ones that one would normally need to travel or take a pelagic trip to see, lures birders to coastal areas or inland spots with open water even before a storm has completely subsided. I made some mostly unsuccessful attempts to find unusual birds at my usual spots. Other birders had much better luck, and it turns out that Irene's track was particularly conducive to sighting entrained birds from land in this area.

Here are a few of the sightings that have been reported so far:
Finally, the Hurricane Irene 2011 blog has been collecting sightings from throughout the areas affected by the storm. The Philadelphia Inquirer has an article on hurricane birding in the Philadelphia area. If you live in or near the storm's path, did you see any unusual birds this weekend?