As part of this recognition of the importance of birds, we will celebrate one species a month.  This month's bird is the Killdeer.  The arrival of hundreds of these birds as a result of Storm Grayson has generated huge interest amongst Bermuda residents and hopefully opened new eyes to birding. 


This from Kenn Kaufman:

For my friends interested in bird distribution: the Killdeer, a common North American plover, is mostly a short-distance migrant. In Bermuda, which lies about 660 miles east of the U.S. coastline, it typically occurs in small numbers in fall, winter, and spring, The upper eBird map here shows (with blue markers) the Killdeers reported in Bermuda during all of last January. Contrast that to the lower map, with orange markers to indicate sightings January 1-6 this year; and note that the top one-spot count jumped from 12 to 500! This is all based on observations by Andrew Dobson and other serious Bermuda birders. (Because of the shape of this graphic, you might have to click on the image to see the whole thing.)

This massive influx of Killdeers is undoubtedly a result of weather conditions affecting eastern North America. The recent extended period of extreme cold would have driven the birds southward and toward the coast. Any that got offshore would have been picked up by the powerful wind circulation around the intense storm that moved north off the Atlantic Coast in recent days. Once the Killdeers were out over the water, many probably just continued to fly downwind until they sighted Bermuda, and many of them probably flew more than 800 miles southeastward before winding up there. The phenomenon brings to mind accounts of another plover, the Northern Lapwing, responding to extreme winter conditions in Europe by making hard-weather movements westward to the coast and beyond.

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Photos courtesy of Andrew Dobson, Paul Watson, Chris Burville, Ras Mykkal, Jennifer Gray, Rosalind Wingate, Rick Slaughter and others.

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