Show notes for Episode 22 “Birds in Migration and Hurricanes”

Cleaning out the bird bath


  • Flight paths and destination
    • Types of bird migration
      • Seasonal: move between breeding and non-breeding ranges.
        • Latitudinal: often determined by geographic features, however, such as mountain ranges and available habitats.
        • Longitudinal: where geographic features encourage birds to move longitudinally rather than latitudinally.
      • Altitudinal: the move to lower elevations in winter, when harsh weather and deep snowfall may make staying at upper elevations impossible. Birds that use altitudinal migration may not venture far in terms of overall mileage, but just a few hundred feet of elevation can make a great difference in habitats.
      • Loop: including two distinctly different routes to and from breeding grounds, often taking advantage of varied resources at different times of the year.
        • rufous hummingbirds follow a coastal route in spring on their way from Mexico to Alaska but take advantage of mountain wildflowers on an interior southbound route in autumn. Loop migration is also common with many seabirds and shorebirds as they use seasonal variations in wind patterns to aid their flight.
      • Nomadic: This movement is less predictable and can be erratic depending on available food and water resources.
        • robins, waxwings, phainopeplas, zebra finches and black swans.
        • Irruptive: large numbers of birds into unusual areas, most often in winter.
          • redpolls, varied thrushes, evening grosbeaks, crossbills and snowy owls.
      • Dispersal: juvenile birds are forced away from their hatching grounds and must seek out their territories as their parents continue to use the same range.
      • Leap Frog: where a northern population will migrate a greater distance to skip over a sedentary(normal residents)population of the same species.
        • Canada geese
      • Reverse: when young birds can become confused or disoriented and instead of migrating along the expected route go in the opposite direction.
      • Molt: Some birds migrate only to accommodate their annual molting periods.
        • summer tanagers, American Redstart
        • American Redstart molting on migration
      • Drift: large numbers of migrating birds have “drifted” away from their typical migration routes, often pushed by storms.
        • More temporary in nature 
        • European drift migration pattern example
    • Resources
  • Altitude

Prepping for hurricanes

  • Birds are safeso don’t worry about them, worry about your feeders and backyard instead!


  • Keep feeders filled in the days leading up to the storm so birds can easily find nutritious foods as they instinctively prepare.
  • Consider adding extra high-fat treats to the feeders, such as shredded suet, peanut butter, or shelled nuts.
  • Just before the storm arrives or you evacuate, store feeders securely in a shed or garage so they do not become wind-blown projectiles.
  • Store bird baths, hanging hooks, or other accessories in a secure area so they are not tangled, lost, or damaged by wind or debris.
  • Check any bird houses to be sure they are as secure as possible. If necessary, remove and store them unless birds are actively nesting.
  • Prune loose branches or any heavy branches overhanging your home before the storm, and consider adding them to a brush pile.
  • Use ropes or stakes to secure a brush pile so it will not be blown apart during the storm and expose any sheltering birds.
  • Resource


  • Tim’s bird count swing
    • Birds preparing for migration
    • Could be due to regional
  • Hummingbird
  • Eastern Phoebe cool behavior observed
    • Check out the cover art for more details!

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