Did This Bird Survive a Flight Through Hurricane Irene?

Chinquapin the whimbrel just wanted to trek down from Canada to his winter hotspot in South America. Instead, he ended up in the heart of Hurricane Irene. And he might just live to tell about.

According to USA Today, this particular bird is part of a research study to track the migratory patterns of the whimbrel species, so he has a location tag affixed to him. As a result, researchers were able to receive updates on the bird's status as he moved through Irene at an impressive 30 mph (they normally fly 40-50).

Whimbrels are "capable of really amazing migration flights" of up to 3,500 miles without a rest," Watts says. Chinquapin had already been flying for four days straight without stopping when he ran into Irene.

"It's sort of bad to hit a big storm at the end of a flight that long."

The scientists think Chinquapin found his way to some of the islands in the Caribbean to rest. "We think he's going to make it through the storm," Watts said.

The next update on the bird is expected to arrive today. Given his age (3), the scientists expect the bird is healthy enough to survive such an awesome expedition. [USA Today]