The earliest models for Dorian’s track indicated a likelihood that the storm 
would track almost due north and pass to the west of Long Island—or at least 
parts of Long Island. This is the scenario that is likely to produce tropical 
terns and other Gulf Stream birds onshore on Long Island. With many people 
talking about Dorian and buzzing over the potential for storm birds, I’ve 
pulled out maps and bird data for several storms that passed west of or across 
Long Island near this date: David (1979), Fran (1996), Floyd (1999), Ernesto 
(2006), and Irene (2011)—all of these were productive for storm birds.

For better or worse, at this point, it appears that Dorian will almost 
certainly whip out to sea to the south and east of us, as so many tropical 
systems do. Storms of this sort often interrupt the trans-oceanic migrations of 
species that would otherwise pass over us (various shorebirds, jaegers, Black 
Tern, etc.), but they do not bring tropical terns, etc.

(Note: my obvious desire to see storm birds has NO influence on the weather and 
is not responsible for any harm or good wrought by any storm; the storm will do 
what it does, and we may simply wish to be prepared for the ornithological as 
well as other consequences).

Shai Mitra
Bay Shore

1979 Major Hurricane David

>From Richard L. Ferren, summarizing effects in Rhode Island: “A minimum of 62 
>Sooty Terns, at least five Bridled Terns, and a Brown Noddy passed Point 
>Judith heading northeastward in the very late afternoon hours, with additional 
>Sooties audibly passing the point after dark. Other Sooties were found dead at 
>Napatree Point and seen exhausted inland at Kingston, while eight 
>oystercatchers appeared at Napatree. More Sandwich Terns were seen the next 
>day.  Five Royal,  16 Black,  and one Gull-billed Tern, and three Black 
>Skimmers were also seen. A flock of 68 Red and six Red-necked Phalaropes at 
>Galilee, and a Red-necked Phalarope and seven Black Terns were seen inland at 
>Richmond the day of the storm; eight oystercatchers at Napatree the day after 
>was then a large number. A final total of seven Sandwich Terns was a maximum 
>count for the state at the time.”

1996 Major Hurricane Fran

next day:

1999 Major Hurricane Floyd

2006 Hurricane Ernesto

2011 Hurricane Irene


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