A new study revealed that songbirds can feel tornadoes before they happen and leave their nests in order to avoid getting hurt.
A team of US scientists tracked down five golden-winged warblers and discovered that the birds fled their nesting places a day before the deadly tornado that devastated the south and central parts of the US in April.
The researchers had put geolocators on the birds in order to study their habits. The data recovered from the geolocators showed that the birds left their nests in the Appalachians and flew approximately 700 kilometers south to the Gulf of Mexico. The day after, devastating tornadoes destroyed the central and south US regions.
The researchers said that some songbirds can feel tornadoes before they happen and other extreme natural disasters because they have a very acute sense of hearing: they can detect very low-frequency sounds.
The scientists said the warblers had just returned from their seasonal migration, after traveling more than 5,000 km from Colombia.
One of the researchers, Dr. Henry Streby from the University of California said that he initially wanted to see if golden warblers can be tracked down. He said that it’s hard to track them down because they are very small birds, weighing about nine grams.
The warblers breed and nest in this region every summer and can be seen around the Appalachian Mountains and the Great Lakes.
The birds went to Colombia for winter time and 20 of them returned in April 2014. The team of scientists was in the field observing the birds when the warblers sense the tornadoes were coming.
The storms that came the next day killed 35 people and caused damages of more than $1 billion. After the storms were over, the researchers caught five of the songbirds and removed their tracking devices. The geolocators weigh approximately half a gram and allow the scientists to track down and calculate the locations where the birds migrate.
But this was no ordinary situation because the birds had just returned from their migration trip. This time they left because they sensed something bad was about to happen.
Image Source: newscenter.berkeley.edu
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