Study by SESYNC’s Chris Field reveals coastal bird populations are resilient to hurricanes
In a catastrophic hurricane like Dorian, the loss of lives and homes can be overwhelming. But even in the midst of devastating sadness and disbelief, a far less urgent but perennial question can tug at the back of the mind. What is the impact of these storms on wild creatures, like birds?
It is too soon to know the extent of Dorian’s impact, and really too soon to ask. Ecological post-mortems are nowhere near the first order of business. But interviews with scientists and the findings in a paper published Monday by Ecology Letters suggest that many birds are resilient, and that when a hurricane does push a species over the brink, it is almost always a species that we have put there in the first place.
If what we’re worried about is extinction, “we’re the driving force,” said David Steadman, curator of ornithology at the Florida Museum of Science, who has done a vast amount of research on Caribbean birds.