Sunday, September 7, 2008

Storm Birds

The excitement was already building, as my dad and I were driving up to a reservoir in central Indiana. Who would have ever guessed that within half an hour from my house in Indianapolis a bird that makes his living on the coasts would be found feeding at a local reservoir. This bird could have been any sea faring bird and it still would have stirred up plenty of excitement but it happened to be one of my favorite birds to watch. It was a Black Skimmer. When you have birded for a while you start to understand not to get your hopes up when going in search for a rare bird, and although it is frustrating when you don’t see the bird that you drove hours for, it is also the reason that you love birds and birding. When we arrived at the reservoir with the sun going down, I knew that we would need to find it quickly or I probably wouldn’t see it at all. There wasn’t much of a wait, as we pulled up the Arni’s parking lot (this parking lot used to provide the best view of the lake), we quickly spotted our bird. As a beginning birder this was one of the first rare Indiana birds that I had seen.

Black Skimmer

When you watch one of these “storm birds” it makes you think about the birds’ journey and whether it will make it through getting blown to an area it does not regularly occur. Even though you are excited to see such a rare bird, you worry about whether it will be able to survive its stay in an unfamiliar place.

This Laughing Gull is one of many birds that could become a "storm bird".

With all of the hurricanes and tropical storms coming through the United States this fall, you need to be careful with every bird that you see around water. With all of the wind involved with these storms, the possibilities are almost endless. Some of the common “storm birds” include many species of gulls and terns, pelicans, shearwaters, storm-petrels, and the Magnificent Frigatebird. The next time you are around a body of water pay close attention to every bird, and who knows, you may find your very own “storm bird”.

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