A major hurricane, Michael, has been coming up through Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas this week, and we hope very much that all our readers in those states are safe and sound.
Hurricanes have a powerful impact not only on human life, but also on the natural world. In particular, hurricanes can scatter many seabirds far outside of their normal ranges, depositing tropical birds far to the north, and open-ocean birds far inland.
Cornell University’s BirdCast service (birdcast.info) is tracking the effects of Hurricane Michael on bird life this week, and you and your homescholars can follow the current reports here:
Your recommended River Houses reference library (riverhouses.org/books) includes a fine bird guide that will show you some of the oceanic birds that are particularly susceptible to hurricane scattering: terns (page 204), tropicbirds (page 214), petrels (page 224), shearwaters (page 232), frigatebirds (page 246), and others.
If you’re discussing hurricanes in your homeschool this week, why not invite you students to imagine what it would be like to be a fifteen-inch bird on the open ocean at night in 100 mile-per-hour winds. How could you survive, and how far away from home would you land?
What natural observations have you made in your homeschool this week? 😊
❡ Homeschool birds: We think bird study is one of the best subjects you can take up in a homeschool environment. It’s suitable for all ages, it can be made as simple or as complex as you wish, and birds can be found just about anywhere at any season of the year. Why not track your own homeschool bird observations on the free eBird website (eBird.org) sponsored by Cornell University. It’s a great way to learn more about what’s in your local area and about how bird populations change from season to season. 🦉