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How Do Hurricanes Affect Waterfowl?

How Do Hurricanes Affect Waterfowl?

Hurricanes not only damage millions of people’s homes, but they also can wreak havoc on waterfowl habitats. Hurricanes alter waterfowl habitats and make it less likely these birds can seek shelter there. Therefore, after doing some research on how do hurricanes affect migrating birds, I’ve found some interesting results.

What are Hurricanes Role in Nature?

Hurricanes play a primary role in the ecology of coastal wetlands. However, people have altered areas in Louisiana because of numerous shipping canals. We have robbed the coastal marshes of nutrients provided by the Mississippi River. Large areas of water with spread out islands of vegetation consequently signify the opposite condition of healthy wetlands.

What Should Healthy Wetlands Look Like?

Healthy wetlands should consist of dense stands of grass and vegetation. However, when left unchecked vegetation can overwhelm open water areas. The term for this natural process is called a succession. These coastal marshes potentially provide little value for waterfowl. In the past, hurricanes have helped to keep the natural process in order. Wind and water created by hurricanes help to dislodge overgrown marshes and, as a result, create new ponds and lakes.

What Kills Waterfowl Habitats?

Storm surges are what can bring the most threat to a waterfowl habitat. These waters mix fresh water with salt water. If the salt level in a habitat is too high, it can kill salt-intolerant vegetation. This leads to larger areas of water. However, studies show that if a coastal marsh is already unhealthy, a hurricane hitting that area could wipe the coastal marsh off the map. This leads to a very low chance of it ever growing back!

How To Support Local Conservationists

Intercoastal Safaris works with conservation non-profits to raise money, while helping keep this process in check. If you’re apart of one of these groups and would like our help, check out our fundraising page. In conclusion, it is our job to keep this planet healthy and we cannot do that without supporting our local conservationists.

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