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.

Weather happens…

I just got the call I was expecting but dreading: this year’s 20th anniversary Hummer/Bird Celebration is canceled.

Hurricane Ike is currently pounding on Cuba, and it’s forecast to hit the Gulf Coast on Saturday. Hurricanes being capricious creatures, exactly when and where Ike will make landfall and at what force remains to be seen. I’m sure our friends and colleagues up and down the Texas coast are battening down the hatches, but poor little Rockport is directly in the storm’s projected path.

As much as I was looking forward to reconnecting with old friends and making new ones (birds and birders alike), hearing some great presentations and giving a new one of my own, and of course indulging in some fine Lone Star cuisine, I’m relieved that folks in Rockport and environs have decided to devote their full attention to making sure they, their families, their pets, and their homes have the best chance of coming through this storm unscathed.

I’ll be thinking of you, friends. Here’s hoping that Ike deteriorates into nothing more than a soggy blowhard by the time he reaches Texas.

Stay dry.