Migration Alert: a dangerous Hurricane Harvey approaches the Texas coast

Andrew Farnsworth The Cornell Lab Aug 24, 2017

Migration Alert: Hurricane Harvey is rapidly intensifying in the Gulf of Mexico. This dangerous storm is forecast to strike the Texas coast on Friday night or Saturday morning as a major hurricane and then meander in the immediate vicinity of the coast for several days. We hope all those in its path are evacuating to safety rapidly and completing preparation for what looks to be a very dangerous and damaging storm.

Hurricane Harvey Forecast Track. Thursday afternoon, 24 August 2017.

For those evacuated safely and those that can view the impacts of this dangerous storm safely, entrained and displaced birds are likely in many areas of the central Texas coast and as far inland as the eastern Hill Country of Texas. Inland water bodies (again, when viewed considering your safety as the utmost priority) from Kennedy County north and west to Bear and Travis Counties and northeast along the coast to Galveston County will see fallouts and concentrations of sulids, Magnificent Frigatebird, numerous terns like Sooty and Bridled Terns and Brown Noddy, and a suite of other species.

Additionally, numerous shorebird fallouts are likely in flooded fields and parking lots as are dropouts of some rare high flying and long distance migrants like jaegers that will be downed over inland bodies of water. And for those in safe viewing locations, keep eyes skyward for swallows, swifts, and other aerialists captured in the storm’s circulation.¬†Additionally, in the wake of the storm’s passage, the potential for large nocturnal exodus of migrants is likely; so birders should keep an ear and eye to the sky if conditions are safe enough to venture out birding.

Please see this eBird post as a reminder about birding in and around these dangerous storms, particularly how to prioritize safety above all else. We will post additional updates as we know more or begin receiving observations from Texas.