We never got the heavy smoke and haze down here that you got in North
Central Florida, the worst visibility I witnessed was about one mile.  The
smoke probably wasn't a problem in south America and the Caribbean and
didn't effect the numbers of migrants departing from there.  The main
controlling factors for spring migrant numbers on the southeast coast are
wind direction and heavy rain.  The rain will force down migrants that
would normally overfly the area and westerly winds will cause migrants that
find themselves out over the ocean to attempt to fly towards the coast and
land.  On the west coast easterly winds have a similar effect.

The only unusual thing I noticed while birding near the coast during the
smoky westerlies was that while there was the usual peak in arrivals late
in the morning birds appeared to be coming in off the ocean through the
late afternoon.  This makes me wonder if the limited visibility caused some
disorientation while the migrants were over the ocean, perhaps causing
losses there.  It would be interesting to know if there were reports during
this period of unusual numbers of birds landing on ships in the Atlantic
off the southeastern US.

I really haven't studied migratory behavior as much as I should have but I
believe important factors influencing the departure of migrants include the
physical condition of the bird, wind direction, and the birds ability to
see stars after sunset.  Smoky conditions in Florida could have made it
difficult for birds to see the stars and delayed departure.

Bryant Roberts
Davie, Fl

> [Original Message]
> From: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: 5/15/2007 9:47:12 PM
> Subject: Re: [FLBIRDS] Smoke & Its Effect On Migrants
> I can accept that this report is flawed--it's not from a reliable 
> birding source, but I thought it was of interest.  I have been 
> wondering, especially when the smoke gets heavy here, how the birds 
> react.  Don't have any sources that I know of that say they hunker 
> down, or fly from it, or become dioriented or impaired.  So I was 
> interested to hear this report.  I can live with a misidentified 
> species--but wonder if the general phenomenon is true.
> Dotty

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