Storm Riders

Listen to Today's Edition
Voiced by Amazon Polly

There is a consensus among animals to run and hide when a violent storm approaches.

One bird species, however, not only stands up to squalls, they dive right in and use them to stay safe, Smithsonian Magazine reported.

For more than 11 years, scientists have used GPS trackers to monitor the movement of more than 400 streaked shearwaters on Japan’s Awashima Island.

They explained that the bird species are highly adapted to windy environments and can thrive over water, where strong winds allow them to glide for long distances without flapping.

But they have a hard time staying on solid ground – except during breeding periods – which also puts them at risk of predation.

In their study, researchers noticed that 75 out of the 401 tracked birds would fly during typhoons or hurricanes, instead of taking shelter. The birds, they noted, would head for the tempest if they were caught between the storm on water and dry land.

The findings also showed that shearwaters were more likely to fly toward the eye during powerful storms – and would be chasing it for up to eight hours.

The team noted that the tactic would result in the birds drifting in the wind because their flight speed did not match the wind speed.

Still, they added that this was a better alternative than being blown by the storm onto land.

Not already a subscriber?

If you would like to receive DailyChatter directly to your inbox each morning, subscribe below with a free two-week trial.

Subscribe today

Support journalism that’s independent, non-partisan, and fair.

If you are a student or faculty with a valid school email, you can sign up for a FREE student subscription or faculty subscription.

Questions? Write to us at

Copy link