A Delaware State University professor has published research on the link between Veery songbirds and hurricane severity.
Christopher Heckscher, associate professor of environmental sciences in the DSU College of Agriculture, Science and Technology, reveals that winter Veery breeding and migration activity to South America can predict hurricane strength in summer and fall seasons.
Shorter breeding periods and earlier migration, Dr. Heckscher found, typically signal stronger storms. From a release:
The DSU associate professor has been researching Veery species phenology – breeding, hatching and migration – since 1998 at White Clay Creek Park, located in New Castle County near Newark, Del.
“Veery come up from Brazil and nest in North America – including Delaware – but typically have only time to raise one brood (lay a few eggs) before they have to return to South America,” Dr. Heckscher said. “Because other bird species are able to raise more than one brood during the breeding season, I began to wonder why does the Veery species only produce one brood during that period.”
Veery birds he observed raised more than one brood only three times during his 18-year study, all before weaker hurricane seasons.