Monday, October 29, 2012

Look what the storm blew in!

Big storms are a bit like a box of Cracker Jacks for birders, especially in New Jersey. Because they're accompanied by strong winds, hurricanes, especially, can potentially bring avian visitors who are either avoiding the tzimmes or blown along with the weather front. It's a great opportunity for those who don't travel much to see birds that rarely -- if ever -- show up here without a push from Mother Nature. Some have opined, for example, that the crested caracara hanging out in West Windsor in September was seeking refuge from a large storm well to our south.

Hurricane Sandy is predicted to be a mammoth storm -- which is why I'm drafting ahead of time, in case I lose power or can't otherwise get to the internet. Based on the current storm path predictions, our birding buddies are already offering thoughts about what types of birds could find their way here. Given that we're also in migration season, things could get pretty interesting.

Even if you're not a birder, or are just starting out, keep an eye and ear out for unusual sights and sounds after the storm. You never know if your backyard or local park might attract a southern bird, or a pelagic (ocean-dweller) that got blown off course. If you're not sure what you're looking at, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology hosts a great website that can help you identify your visitor. 

Let us know if you see anything unusual... but above all, stay safe! 

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