Bird enthusiasts are thrilled as several North American bird species that rarely, if ever, appear in Ireland are now being spotted there. They have arrived due to Hurricane Lee, which passed through Canada in mid-September.
The birds were driven off their usual migration route towards South America by the strong winds accompanying the storm, as reported by The New York Times. They were blown towards the sea, with a small portion reaching the west coasts of Great Britain and Ireland. In total, sixteen different uncommon species have been observed in these countries.
It all began this week with the sighting of a North American songbird, the Canadian warbler, which had never been found in Great Britain before. In Ireland, a fortunate birdwatcher then spotted the equally unique Cape May warbler. Subsequently, many other bird species that had rarely been seen in both countries followed.
These included more songbirds like the northern parula and the Baltimore oriole. Additionally, specific swallow species that typically only exist in North America made an appearance.
“Normally, we only experience these kinds of storms later in October. That’s when species like the red-eyed vireo and yellow-billed cuckoo usually head this way,” said biodiversity researcher Alexander Lees to the American newspaper.
“The fact that this storm arrived so early resulted in a different selection of birds. A significant boon for birdwatchers.”
Birdwatchers have only a few days to spot these unique birds. Once they have refuelled, they will continue their journey to their wintering grounds.