Watch CBS News

Hurricane Sandy Brings Birds From Florida, Arctic To New England

BOSTON (CBS) - They're not supposed to be here, birds from Europe, the arctic and the southern states, blown here by the heavy winds of Superstorm Sandy. There's the Northern Lapwing from Europe, the Magnificent Frigate Bird from the south and the tiny arctic Dovekie, all pushed by monstrous forces, some trapped in the eye of a hurricane and deposited here in New England.

Pelican (Photo from Mass Audubon)

"Any storm that extends from Europe to North America, that's a huge event and accordingly birds that are anywhere in its path are going to be affected. I'm sure there are a lot of casualties we'll never know about," says Wayne Petersen, a bird expert for Mass Audubon. "It's like you fall into a fast running river. You're going to be swept along, you're going to go quite a distance fairly quickly, but you're going to do it against your will," he says.

The birds that survived the forced journey, some traveling hundreds of miles, arrived bruised, battered and hungry. "The size of the storm, the intensity of the storm, the duration of the storm, the track of the storm, all those things's tough sledding," says Petersen.

Two pelicans that were rescued in Rhode Island will be flown to Florida and released. It's impossible to know what will happen to the rest. "When they disappear from here it's hard to know whether they've just moved on or whether they've succumbed," says Petersen. The displaced birds that are in the most danger are the Northern Lapwings from Europe. They obviously can't fly all the way back there, so there's a big question mark about their survival.

Thanks to the photographers who allowed us to use their images: Ian Davies, Wayne Petersen, Jeremiah Trimble and Myer Bornstein.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.