Most people flee hurricanes. Some people seek them.
We call the latter hard-core birders.
We suggested a few blogs ago that birders would be on the lookout in North Carolina for seabirds blown into places where they are uncommon to never.
It’s happening right now.
The Washington Post carried a story yesterday about a man from Ithaca, N.Y., who loaded his car with extra gasoline, first-aid supplies, food, camera, and binoculars, and drove to North Carolina.
He and a friend hoped to find the eye of the storm, that being a particularly good place to find a storm fallout. Many birds could be blown in and dropped off, tropical birds maybe.
Deep into the storm, the pair retreated when power lines began to fall. Plan B was a reservoir where birds had been seen in past storms.
They found terns of various species, and then the bird that should have made their drive worthwhile -- a Trindade Petrel. This bird breeds on islands near Brazil, but wanders when breeding season ends. It visits Gulf Stream waters off the North Carolina coast.
The petrel has been seen inland in North America twice before, in 1933 and 1996.
In all, the birders saw 36 species of birds, close to a dozen of which were “hurricane birds.”
Quoted in the Post the New York birder called the experience “awesome.”
Other birders surely were on the hurricane scene. Some birds will be carried so far inland that a long trip will not be necessary.
Check eBird, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology national posting web site, for more information (ebird.org/explore).
The story also noted that birds resident to the storm area could be impacted by habitat damage. Trees came down, flooding changed islands used for nesting, and beaches where migrant shorebirds are right now could have eroded into hardened surfaces that make foraging difficult.