As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Update on out-of-town birds: They're taking the next bus home

New York, displacing them far from home. At Cayuga Lake, a species from a remote North Atlantic island and one from the high arctic were spotted earlier this week. 

But what happens to these accidental visitors after the storm has passed?

Stranded seabirds, such as the Leach’s Storm-Petrel and Ross’s Gull seen in Central New York, need to return to the ocean to survive. So they will leave land once the weather clears up, said Andrew Farnsworth, a New York City-based research scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Farnsworth also leads BirdCast, a migratory bird tracking program.

The Ross’s Gull spotted on Cayuga Lake breeds in the high arctic of North America and northeast Siberia. To fly back to the North American arctic, it would have to travel an estimated 2,600 miles. “The best chance to see rare birds will be right after the storm has passed – there will definitely be some out-of-range and unusual birds found,” Farnsworth said. “We could be seeing birds that have been traveling with Sandy for hundreds of miles and are just looking for a break from the weather.”

The storm also interrupted the southward migration of many other bird species. With clearer skies expected at week’s end, large numbers of birds are likely to resume their flights. 

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