Guest Author - Lisa Shea
Humans can hide in the basement or drive to stay with grandma. What do birds and other wildlife do when hurricanes and storms invade their territory?
Luckily, most birds migrate and know well how to deal with bad weather. There is almost always at least some bad weather along their migration path, and they know to find an alternate location to stay. Birds normally fly around to look for food, shelter, perhaps a better nesting area. So when they feel stronger winds coming in, they have no problem finding a new location to visit for a while.
It's no coincidence that birds do their chick-raising in the calmer times of year. By the time hurricane season hits - peaking in September - the baby birds are mostly fully grown and quite capable of flying long distances.
Birds tend to go low to the ground when heavy storms hit, staying out of the swaying and snapping trees. They duck for cover under rocky overhangs, in caves and other naturally safe areas. They find large trees likely to survive the winds and settled down into hollow cavities.
That's not to say that all birds survive unscathed. Many times, inland birds right along the coast are blown out to see, where they drown unless they come across something to settle on. On the other hand, storms sometimes blow birds into areas they would not normally visit, opening their eyes to fresh, new territories with plenty of food and nesting space.
Even when local populations of birds are decreased by storms, the birds who remain now have an abundance of food and nesting locations compared to before. The relatively lack of competition means that more chicks next year will survive to adulthood, repopulating the area to its previous levels.
Nature is used to the cycle of storm and renewal, and birding is just one part of that large cycle.