Hurricane Sandy misplaces Iceland-born birds

razorbillA bird species that generally prefers northern latitudes has surprised experts by showing up in southern Florida. Experts say that most razorbills are born in Iceland and spend most of the year on the northeastern coastline of the US and the eastern reaches of Canada, almost never migrating farther south than Virginia.

However, dozens of the birds have recently been rescued and taken to wildlife centres in the sub-tropical Sunshine State, with experts citing the lingering effects of Hurricane Sandy as the reason. They say the storm likely pushed the razorbills from their normal migratory course and disrupted their food supply, forcing many to wander farther than normal.

Jessica Bender from the Conservancy of Southwest Florida in Naples told the media that the birds that turned up in Florida are in a very bad condition. She added, “It’s exhaustion and emaciation. They are just really skinny and really tired,” reports.

Bender said that they have taken in 19 of the birds since mid-December, but that all have died, despite rehabilitation efforts.

Likewise, Gareth Johnson from the Clinic for Rehabilitation of Wildlife in Sanibel, said that razorbills have little chance of surviving in the region due to major differences in their surroundings.

He said, “The fish up north tend to be a lot oilier. When they come down here they are out of their element. They don’t know how to deal with the different predators and their food source just isn’t enough to sustain them.”

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