Geography tutor needed, apply at London (Ontario) Free Press

From “Hurricane relocates hummingbird”:

Probably the most interesting bird spotted in Nova Scotia after the passage of hurricane Earl, was a Calliope hummingbird from the American western mountains, where they are uncommon at best…

How the southwestern hummingbird ended up in Nova Scotia, is a mystery. It might have been migrating south to its wintering grounds in north west Mexico when it got caught up in Earl’s vortex.

Or not.

A couple of minor problems with this scenario:

  • Hurricane Earl never got within 1000 miles of the Calliope Hummingbird’s normal migration routes to its wintering grounds in southwestern Mexico.
  • Any Calliope Hummingbird sucked up by one of those rare Rocky Mountain hurricanes would not survive to be dropped off 2000 miles away in Nova Scotia unless the winds also transported a bunch of uprooted nectar plants and/or hummingbird feeders along with farmhouses, livestock, runaway schoolgirls, and psycho dog-hating neighbor ladies on bicycles. Oh, wait… that’s tornadoes.

Hurricanes almost certainly do “relocate” hummingbirds on occasion. If this was such an occasion and not just a coincidence, the most logical scenario is that the bird had already migrated to the Atlantic Coast before it “got caught up in Earl’s vortex.” Still highly unlikely because of problem #2 above.

Of course, fall migration is a normal time to find “wayward” birds almost everywhere in North America, even in the absence of hurricanes (or tornadoes). Calliope Hummingbirds are Canadian birds, too, nesting in British Columbia and southwestern Alberta, so this one could have traveled east-southeast completely under its own power, never coming anywhere near Earl’s path until it arrived in Nova Scotia nor even straying out of Canadian airspace.

Rant over. Please resume your normal activities.

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