Hurricane Sandy's Silver Lining: Unusual Birds In Fairfield County

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Evening grosbeaks are among the more unusual bird species spotted in the region in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Evening grosbeaks are among the more unusual bird species spotted in the region in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Photo Credit: Flickr user RDDjr

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Like everyone else, I’ve been struggling with power and Internet. But as a birder, the hurricane had a tiny silver lining. Amidst storm cleanup I’ve enjoyed getting a look at some unusual birds blown here by the storm.

Birds treat storms in one of three ways. On land they may simply hunker down on a tree limb and wait the worst of it out. Over water or in migration, a bird, especially an experienced adult, might try to head into the storm knowing it could get a push in the right direction. Other times, the bird will spread its wings and go wherever the winds are blowing. For bird watchers, that is when post-storm life gets interesting. 

The past two weeks have brought some fine species to our shores that are rarely seen here. They’re being spotted in places such as Stamford Cove Park, Shippan Point, Fairfield’s Penn Reef and Bridgeport’s seawall.  

While the hurricane brought seabirds, storms from the north have driven late flocks of migrating songbirds into our trees. Massive movements of grackles and flocks of mixed warblers such as magnolia, palm, yellow rumped and blackpoll are winging their way through. They are accompanied by even rarer northern visitors, such as evening grosbeaks and redpolls.

So if you’d like to forget about storm cleanup for a few hours, grab a pair of binoculars, a bird guidebook and the kids. Head to the Sound or even to your local park and start looking at the birds. I bet you will find several new species that you have never seen before. It’s the hurricane’s only reward.

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Comments (5)

Weren't doves Noah's tiny silver lining? I had a pair of green parrots come to my feeder. They are usually residents of Calf Pasture and Darien's utility poles that have transformers,..they like the warmth they give off. I highly doubt the author meant anything offensive or is without compassion for all the poor souls that have been so devastated by the storm. Perhaps he was championing nature and our resilience.

Silver lining? People have lost more than power in this storm. Families have lost homes and loved ones. Communities have been devastated. I'm sure the author means no offense, but I don't believe birds are a "silver lining" in the devastation of this storm.

Respectfully, what is so wrong finding an ounce of good in a few tons of bad?

Lighten up! He said "tiny" silver lining. A silver lining by definition is something good out of something bad. The construction industry, tree companies and landscapers will all find silver linings in this storm also. Power line and DPW workers are making a killing in overtime, that's a silver lining for them and their families!

And, I might add the last sentence reads, "It's the hurricane's only reward."

The author was by no means being insensitive; he was simply stating try to see some beauty in what's around us. Yes, there's been horrific devastation, but there's still some gorgeous things to admire, to focus on to get us through these trying times.

Hang in there, everyone!