Sunday, August 28, 2005

Hurricane Katrina set to blow pelagic species into interior U.S.

Hurricane Katrina has grown into a potentially devastating Category 5 storm, and will likely be one of the strongest storms to ever hit the Gulf Coast.

Obviously, our thoughts and prayers are with the folks in the path of this storm, and everyone in the path of Katrina should take the precautions recommended by their local authorities.

When the storm passes, however, it will inevitably dump hundreds and possibly even thousands of pelagc birds into the interior of the continent. Based on the current projected path of Katrina, there will possibilities for incredible seabirding in a number of landlocked states, including Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and possibly Southeastern Indiana. The projected track is probably a bit too far east of Illinois to deposit much into Southern Illinois, but places like Carlyle Lake still offer some potential late Tuesday or early Wednesday morning. Every large body of water in the path of Katrina should be birded as soon after the storm passes as is safely possible. Always make your personal safety your top priority.

Many of these seabirds will never make it back to the ocean, and any specimens should be collected and brought to the nearest museum with a bird collection.

Please report any and all rarities to your local RBA or Interet mailing list AS SOON AS POSSIBLE; even if you're not sure exactly what you have seen, post the possiblities so others know what spots are "hot" and what species they should be looking for.

As always, we would be interested in getting any reports from the field from birders searching for "storm birds" this week.

UPDATE 1: There has already been a report of a bunch (flock?) of about 150 Mag. Frigatebirds flying over I-10 near New Orleans.

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