Radar Spots Flock of Birds Inside the Eye of Hurricane Matthew -- But Why?
As Hurricane Matthew continues to wreak havoc along the east coast of Florida, a radar has spotted a huge flock of birds seeking refuge inside the eye of the storm -- but why?
According to meteorologist Glenn Burns of WSB-TV in Atlanta, the radar saw seagulls and birds flying inside the eye of Hurrican Matthew to escape the storm's havoc in the north and north eastern center of it.
“Here is the eye of the storm and inside the eye the air is calm and the sky is clear,” said Burns. USA Today notes that the birds flock in the eye of the storm as the winds are calm there.
"The birds get into the end of the hurricane’s spiral and they move toward the eye of the hurricane. They may not necessarily do that in any organized way; more likely they’re out there in all this wild wind and when they chance into the calm of the eye they may make an effort to stay there and travel with it rather than fighting the winds again," Birder Kenn Kaufman of the Audobon Society told the outlet. Kaufman further explained that some of these birds may even stay inside the eye and travel with the hurricane even though the storm reaches land. Meanwhile, seabirds would probably escape out of the eye and find their way back to shore, given that they are not too weak from flying without food.
Brandon Heitkamp, a resource manager at Audubon South Carolina’s Silver Bluff Audubon Center and Sanctuary in Jackson, told The State that birds usually get suck into the eye of a hurricane due to the manner of the tail wind configuration while flying for migration. He said that birds could travel for thousand of miles and wait for the storm to calm down before they get out.
Heitkamp also explains that storms and hurricanes have contributed to the displacement of birds in different places not native to their migratory paths or areas. This displacement gives a rare chance for birdwatchers to witness other birds not endemic to their area.