text and haiku by Kristen Lindquist

Hurricane Sandy, Extra-tropical Storm Sandy, Big Huge Storm Sandy, or whatever you want to call it,  is headed our way after already wreaking havoc on the mid-Atlantic states on up. When a big storm system moves through during a migration season, some birders get excited, anticipating unusual southern–even tropical–species blown off course. Pelicans and boobies end up off the coast of Maine; seabirds end up far inland. If you and yours are safe and sound post-storm, that can be one of the most interesting times to be out birding. If this kind of storm watching appeals to you, eBird offers more specific information.

In reading on eBird about how this storm may affect various types of birds, I’ve learned a few things. Strong storm winds may displace birds–blowing around or concentrating large flocks, knocking pelagic birds inland, for example. Or birds may get caught up in the calm eye of the storm, especially one as large as Sandy, and get carried thousands of miles north along with the weather. That’s how we end up with tropicbirds in Massachusetts. That’s entrainment.

This song describes Van Morrison’s definition of “entrainment.” It seems to differ slightly from the ornithological definition. But the concept, however one thinks of it, has tremendous poetic potential.

Calm amid passion’s swirl
yet still carried away,
dropped on a strange shore.