Hurricane Arthur threatens USA, what will birds do?

This video from the USA says about itself:

31 August 2011

These tiny baby birds were found by caring citizens in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. They were brought to Evelyn’s Wildlife Refuge, a non- profit wildlife rehabilitator in Virginia Beach, VA. They are expected to make a full recovery and be released back into the wild.

From eNature Blog in the USA:

How Do Birds Deal With Hurricanes Like Arthur?

Posted on Thursday, July 03, 2014 by eNature

Hurricane Arthur is working its way up the East Coast, threatening the beach vacationers from Florida to Maine with bad rain, highs winds and big surf.

While Arthur’s wind, rain and storm surge will certainly affect many people, some folks are also wondering about the effects the hurricane may have on birds.

Numbers are hard to come by, but it’s clear that many birds are killed outright by hurricanes. This is especially true of seabirds, which have nowhere in which to seek shelter from these storms. Beaches may be littered with seabird carcasses following major storm events. Most Atlantic hurricanes occur in late summer and early fall—and fall storms coincide with bird migration and may disrupt migration patterns severely.

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.

Healthy bird populations are able to withstand such losses and have done so for eons. However, hurricanes can have severe impacts on endangered species, many of which occur on tropical islands, often among the places hardest hit by hurricanes. For example, Hurricane Hugo in 1989 killed half of the wild Puerto Rican Parrots existing at that time. The Cozumel Thrasher, found only on Mexico’s Isla Cozumel, was pushed to the edge of extinction by Hurricane Gilbert in 1988. Hurricane Iniki may have wiped out the last survivors of as many as three bird species when it hit Hawaii in 1992.

Apart from the direct, physical effects hurricanes may have on birds, they also can have detrimental effects on bird habitats. Cavity-nesting species can be especially hard hit because the trees in which they nest often are blown down or snapped off at the cavity. Hurricane Hugo, which hit the Carolinas in 1989, destroyed most of the area’s nest trees of the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker; one forest lost 87 percent of its nest trees and 67 percent of its woodpeckers. Only through the installation of artificial nest boxes have these populations been restored to pre-storm levels.

Although birds blown out of their normal haunts by storms often don’t survive, bird-watchers by the hundreds may flock to see them. Usually, such sightings involve seabirds blown inland and appearing on lakes and reservoirs. First state records of many species have been obtained in this way. Some birders even head into hurricanes to see lost birds.* Others raptly study weather maps to try to predict where hurricane-swept birds will wind up. A few years back, during Isabel, birders were staked out in an organized fashion around New York’s Cayuga Lake to see what showed up. Land birds blown out to sea typically perish unnoticed.

It’s important to remember that the long-term effects of hurricanes on birds aren’t necessarily negative. Every disturbance event is bad for some species but good for others. For instance, hurricanes create gaps in forests, creating habitat for species that require a brushy understory. Birds blown off course occasionally establish entirely new populations; such events may be responsible for much, if not most, colonization of remote islands by birds. Furthermore, hurricanes have been around for a long time and are part of the system in which birds evolved. It is only when they have impacts on species already pushed to the brink by humans, or if hurricane activity is increased by global climate change, that there is cause for concern.

*Epitaph for a hurricane-chasing birder (not original):

Here he lies
A little wet
But he got
His lifelist met.

Have you noticed changes in bird or other animal populations in the wake of hurricanes or other disturbances?

We’re always interested to hearing (or read) your experiences and stories.

Where do the birds go for protection during severe weather such as blizzards, hurricanes, and tornadoes? Here.

What You Need to Know About Hurricane Arthur, the July Fourth Party-Crasher: here.

Hurricane Irene threatens New York

This video from the USA is called 4:00 pm Hurricane Irene Carolina Beach, NC 8/26/2011.

From Al Jazeera:

Hurricane Irene has the skyscrapers of New York firmly in her sights and the Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s taking no chances. The time to leave is right now.

In an unprecedented move the mass transit system’s being shut down completely.

A mandatory evacuation ordered for low lying parts of the city – a quarter of a million people are being told to head for higher ground.

New York City: Rikers Island Prisoners Left Behind to Face Irene: here. And here.

Falling tree limb kills man in Nash County, N.C.; tropical storm conditions extend into Va., Md., Del.: here.

Hurricane Tracker Apps for iPad, iPhone, Android to Avoid Irene: here.

This site will focus on hurricane Irene (and its effects on our environment, especially birds) starting from August 24, 2011. This site will be updated twice daily (for one week) until Irene fades away around August 31.

Waiting for Irene, and remembering Katrina: here.

Hurricane Irene Update: here.

Track Hurricane Irene Up the East Coast: here.

First Irene-Related Deaths Reported: here.

Hurricane’s health risks likely to linger: here.

7 Surprises Hurricane Irene May Have In Store: here.

Nuclear Reactors on East Coast Brace for Hurricane Irene’s Wrath: here.

Connecticut, New York work with Nature Conservancy to prepare coasts for hurricanes: here.

Hurricane Irene damages turtle nests

From the Palm Beach Post in the USA:

Sea turtle nests bore the brunt of Irene’s wrath

By Bill DiPaolo

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Updated: 2:41 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26, 2011

Posted: 12:23 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26, 2011

JUPITER — Turtle nests sustained significant damage from Hurricane Irene, but county beaches generally stood up well to the storm, according to county officials.

“There was some damage to plants and dunes,” said Dan Bates, environmental director for Palm Beach County’s Department of Environmental Resources Management. “Some beaches lost a little width and height. But nothing major. And there was no structural damage to coastal buildings.”

While the predicted 18-foot waves did not slam into Palm Beach County beaches, the storm did destroy many sea turtle nests. The six-month nesting season ends Oct. 31.

Loggerhead Marinelife Center officials, who report about 2,300 sea turtle nests this year on north county beaches, inspected 600 of the nests. Eighty nests had been destroyed by the storm, said Loggerhead Biologist Kelly Martin.

About 250 silver-dollar-sized hatchlings were brought in Thursday by beachgoers who found them wandering on the sand. The tiny turtles will be kept for two to four weeks. They will be taken out by boat and released at the weedline, Martin said.

The eggs remaining 1-3 feet below the sand are loggerhead and green sea turtles, with a few leatherbacks, Martin said.

The amount of nests destroyed this summer by storms is about the same as any other year, Martin said.

“Unfortunately, the turtle nesting season is the same (time) as the hurricane season,” she said.

Hurricane Irene’s dangerous power can be traced to global warming says Bill McKibben—and Obama is at fault for his failed leadership on the environment: here.

Irene and birds: here.

How Hurricane Irene Will Help Predict Future Floods: here.

September 2011. As part of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has formally proposed the establishment of a new national wildlife refuge and conservation area in the Kissimmee River Valley, south of Orlando, Florida, to preserve one of the last remaining grassland and longleaf pine savanna landscapes in eastern North America: here.

ScienceDaily (Sep. 28, 2011) — Marine turtles worldwide are vulnerable and endangered, but their long lives and broad distribution make it difficult for scientists to accurately determine the threat level to different populations and devise appropriate conservation strategies. To address this concern, researchers have developed a new method to evaluate spatially and biologically distinct groups of marine turtles, called Regional Management Units, or RMUs, to identify threats and data gaps at different scales: here.