Saturday, April 30, 2011

Dealing with the Weather

One of the things the Shrikes cannot control on the Big Day is the weather. However, over the years the Shrikes have learned to make the best of what Mother Nature gives them. With the aid of modern technology the Shrikes are able to get accurate minute-to-minute weather updates. Given this information we can make snap decisions to alter our route when it makes sense. A classic example of this occurred 2 years ago when the Shrikes were presented with a blanket of fog over Culver’s Lake in the early morning. This is one of the locations we hope to find migrants, swallows and lingering waterfowl, but finding these species would be nearly impossible in the dense fog. Instead the Shrikes opted to hit the next scheduled stop and double back 20 minutes later (hopefully after the fog had burned off by the rising sun). This route change worked out perfectly netting several key species without wasting any time on the route.

So what is the worse weather the Shrikes can face on the Big Day? That all depends on when and where in the route, personally I believe that howling wind is the worse. Wind makes it difficult to hear birds singing, which the Shrikes rely on to get species as fast as possible. Additionally, I find the overall bird activity really decreases if the wind is howling birds just don’t like to sit out in the open for very long while their perch sways back and forth.

Will the Shrikes have to agonize over the weather come May 14th? Only time will tell, but hopefully not!!!

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