If you live here in the Ottawa area, you have undoubtedly been touched in one way or another by the rash of extreme weather we experienced over the past week. Last weekend, Environment Canada confirmed that six different tornados touched down here in our fair city and the devastation was catastrophic in some cases.
While we are certainly doing our part to provide aid to those affected, and our hearts continue to go out to the victims of destruction, we also spent a fair bit of time researching how it affected our beloved birds.
One key observation we made leading up to the storm was the complete absence of birds just prior to the weather rolling into our area. As many of you know, we have multiple feeders and keep a very watchful eye on our backyard visitors and immediately noticed a dramatic drop in visits in the 24-hours leading up to the storm.
As many researchers have said in the past, birds are equipped with somewhat of a sixth sense for predicting bad weather and will either leave the area or hunker down and try to get through it.
The sad truth about it is not all are able to survive and some end up swept way off their intended path, in the case of migrating birds, for example.
This all-encompassing movement not only helps us identify and locate birds in any geographical area, it also provides biologists and researchers with the data they need to better predict bird behavior and possible threats.
After large storms like the ones we experienced last weekend, apps and websites such as iNaturalist and eBird are great places for all of us to take part in assessing any and all damage to our bird populations.
Reporting any sightings of injured or dead birds goes a long way in providing detailed data about how our birds react and endure inclement weather and can, in many cases, help us make better decisions for the future protection of our birds and wildlife.