Photographs of birds displaced by Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey’s path of destruction has seen unprecedented and catastrophic events in coastal Texas. Some birders have been out safely documenting what they have seen, and numerous typically pelagic or near shore species have been displaced far inland from the coast. Below the live map of sightings is a sampling of some of the species documented far from the Gulf of Mexico.

Sooty Tern

This aerialist is a typical cyclone-assisted vagrant, perhaps one of the more expected tropical species to occur out of range with hurricanes. Below, a photograph from Ft. Bend, 38 miles inland.

Sooty Tern. Ron Weeks/Macaulay Library. eBird S38843428. Sooty Tern. Ron Weeks/Macaulay Library. eBird S38843428.

Magnificent Frigatebird

We expected numbers of this species to appear in the wake of this storm, and reports highlight significant numbers inland. Below, a series of photographs of inland frigatebirds.

At Walter E. Long Lake, 170 miles inland.

Magnificent Frigatebirds. Arman Moreno/Macaulay Library. eBird S38840035. Magnificent Frigatebirds. Nate McGowan/Macaulay Library. eBird S38831872.

Near Houston.

Magnificent Frigatebirds. Ken Hartman/Macaulay Library. eBird S38837631. Magnificent Frigatebirds. Ken Hartman/Macaulay Library. eBird S38838464.

Magnificent Frigatebird. James Rieman/Macaulay Library. eBird S38837333.

Sabine’s Gull

A presumably high altitude and low density overland migrant, this species is often associated with strong weather systems that may “knock” down individuals on the move. In this case, strong storms associated with the arrival of Hurricane Harvey’s energy farther inland may highlight interactions between high altitude migrants and strong convective thunderstorms around the fringes of the hurricane’s circulation. At Lake Travis, 165 miles inland.

Sabine’s Gull. Arman Moreno/Macaulay Library. eBird S38862191.

Royal Terns

This typically coastal and near shore species does not often appear displaced in fast moving hurricanes. However, the slow forward progress of Harvey over the coastal boundary coupled with the abundance of this species on the Texas coast made for a different pattern, with a number of individuals appearing far inland.

132 miles inland
Royal Tern. Curtis McCamy/Macaulay Library. eBird S38860347.

165 miles inland
Royal Tern. Arman Moreno/Macaulay Library. eBird S38862191.

Least Terns

A similar story to Royal Tern, this species is a coastal and near shore species presumably displaced by this slow moving behemoth. Also near Austin, about 140 miles from the coast.

Least Tern. Arman Moreno/Macaulay Library. eBird S38840052.

200 miles inland
Least Terns. Gil Eckrich/Macaulay Library. eBird S38854843.

Caspian Tern

This species is almost certainly a regular occurrence at many inland lakes in Texas in small numbers, but it is possible that Harvey displaced from the coast or knocked down some individuals during migration. At Walter E. Long Lake, 170 miles inland.
Caspian Tern. Arman Moreno/Macaulay Library. eBird S38862187.

280 miles inland
Caspian Tern. Mike Cameron/Macaulay Library. eBird S38850820.

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