Local

What were those angular black birds soaring along the shoreline during the storm?

Magnificent frigatebirds skim the air above Pass Christian Harbor on Thursday, June 22, 2017. The birds, which are usually seen in tropical waters between northern Mexico and Ecuador, were blown north by to Tropical Storm Cindy.
Magnificent frigatebirds skim the air above Pass Christian Harbor on Thursday, June 22, 2017. The birds, which are usually seen in tropical waters between northern Mexico and Ecuador, were blown north by to Tropical Storm Cindy. amccoy@sunherald.com

Magnificent frigatebirds skimmed the air along the Mississippi shoreline this week, blown to the mainland by Tropical Storm Cindy.

You don’t see them every day.

They are birds from deep in the Gulf, ocean birds that fly all the time. They don’t land except to breed and nest. They eat and sleep on the fly and are usually seen over tropical waters. But every time there’s a major storm, they’re blown in.

The frigatebird is easy to recognize with its angular form. It has long wings and a forked tail.

On Wednesday, Mark LaSalle, director of the Pascagoula River Audubon Center, said he lost count of the number he saw flying above U.S. 90. They don’t go inland.

“Every mile or so there would be a couple,” LaSalle said. “At the Beau Rivage there were five soaring over the road. The storms blow them in and they hang over the bridges and along the shoreline or the beach road.

“They’re cool,” LaSalle said. “They are definitely a curiosity when the storms come. They are an exotic bird.”

  Comments