Where Do Birds Go During a Hurricane?

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NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA– Storms come every year to the gulf south and every storm has the potential to do great damage. Have you ever wondered how birds survive hurricanes and where they go?

Meteorologist Scot Pilie noticed something very interesting in Hurricane Laura’s graphics, August 28th, saying “this is remarkable.  This is known as our correlation coefficient product.  the reason we use this is to detect debris in tornados.  Last night it captured something remarkable.  Those are actual birds detected in the eye of Laura as it made landfall near Cameron Louisiana.”

There are accounts of seabirds being carried 100 to 150 miles inland, which can make bird watching in the immediate days after a Hurricane, an unusual experience because storms will often bring birds that are not locally native in the area.

Birds hunker down before a storm, responding to infrasound and barometric pressure drops. Carolyn Atherton, is Audubon Zoo‘s Curator of Birds and says, “rather than traveling around a storm several hundred miles across, it’s safer for them to travel in the eye of the storm until they can hunker down.”

Ibis are some of the the first birds to return after stormy weather. However, pelicans are especially powerful. Zoo Curator Atherton says, “pelicans are definitely one of the birds that are more adaptable to dealing with large scale storms and hurricanes.  They are super tough birds that are strong enough to out fly them and smart enough to stay in the center.”

Although birds can survive the wind and rain, flooding does take it’s toll and can wash away both habitat and food supply. However, birds have been storm prepping every year for approximately 60 million years.

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