How Do Tornadoes Affect Birds?
After the initial destruction, twisters can benefit some avian species.
For some birds, change is salvation. King offers a hopeful anecdote in the form of the whip-poor-will, a forest-dwelling bird that faces habitat loss. In forests, fallen trees give a photosynthetic boost to the lower, shrubby level--an ecosystem that birds like the whip-poor-will need more than deep, shadowy forest. "They won't actually use mature forest," King says. "They require shrubland."
Once, after a tornado passed through Broomfield, Massachusetts, King recalls that whip-poor-wills populated the area where new shrubland opened up to the sky. Sometimes, new life can spring from nature's worst destruction.