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Large group of American birds swept into Nova Scotia by hurricane Dorian

ABOVE: Birds flocking to Atlantic Canada after Hurricane Dorian

A wildlife rehabilitation centre near Halifax is hosting a large group of American birds, apparently carried to Nova Scotia by hurricane Dorian.

Hope Swinimer, owner of Hope For Wildlife in Seaforth, N.S. says she made a surprising discovery after post-tropical storm Dorian blew through the province last Saturday.

“After the [storm], we got up and went down, and we saw hundreds of laughing gulls,” said Swinimer.

READ MORE: Maturing seagulls loudly prepare for 1st migration over Wascana Park

Bird researcher Ian McLaren, professor emeritus at Dalhousie University, says the gulls are most common along the Eastern Seaboard, between Florida and New England.

McLaren suspects Dorian swept them up from Cape Hatteras, N.C., for a journey of roughly 2,000 kilometres.

“The ones that were injured and not capable of flight, and had something broken and something wrong, were gathered up by the general public,” says Swinimer.

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READ MORE: Nova Scotia island home to important bird site to be protected by nature trust

“And we had a steady stream of cars coming down our driveway all day Sunday.”

During Global News’ visit, veterinarian Dr. Jessica Khodadad was conducting an X-ray on an injured laughing gull, diagnosing the bird with a broken bone in its wing.

X-ray of an injured Laughing Gull.
X-ray of an injured Laughing Gull. Ross Lord/Global News

“We’ve applied a wrap to that wing, to stabilize that fracture, and over the next couple of weeks it should heal up nicely because it’s well-aligned,” Khodadad said.

“From there, hopefully he’ll be able to be released again.”

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Swinimer said they’ve seen a wide range of physical conditions.

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“Everything from [birds] broken up and near death. We lost a few of the skimmers. They were so down and out, and so tired from their ordeal,” Swinimer said. “But some are pretty good and pretty alert.”

The centre sustained temporary damage of its own, losing power for six days, which made it difficult to contact volunteers who can help pick up birds at drop-off points.

However, electricity is now back to normal, and Swinimer expects most of the reluctant hitchhikers are to return home in a few weeks.

WATCH: Annapolis Valley families still waiting for power restoration due to significant damage caused by Dorian

Families in the valley still waiting for power restoration due to significant damage caused by Dorian
Families in the valley still waiting for power restoration due to significant damage caused by Dorian
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