WEATHER-RELATED GROUNDING OF SONGBIRDS AT MACHIAS SEAL ISLAND DURING MIGRATION.
Many of our migrants move by night, at least in part to avoid predators. They sit down in the morning, spending the day resting and re-fuelling.
Most will resume their journey the next night although those in greatest need may stay longer.
When the weather is favourable the vast bulk of the migrants will maximize their distance and by-pass the closer or less inviting stops along their route, places like Machias Seal Island.
However, if they attempt to move in adverse weather or especially if they encounter adverse conditions while enroute over water, birds may be forced to seek any available landfall; islands and even boats. Sometimes masses of exhausted birds will simply expire in the water.
Machias Seal Island serves as a Convenience Store in fair weather. Needful birds stop to rest and get a snack to sustain them until they reach a better stop-over.
In adverse weather, the island serves more as a Life Boat, providing a landfall for many desperate, exhausted flyers. These are the stereotypical "fall-outs".
This is a compilation spread over 15 years (2005 - 2017) and shows both ordinary night flights and drop-out events.
The small groups and individual birds are a sampling from both fair and foul weather. Some of the older images have been published previously.