Across much of the world, winter is a season for studying waterbirds, and if you have access to a large body of water (ocean, large lake, or river), then it’s worth looking for waterbirds during storms. This has the potential for some of the most exciting birding.
Birds sense the lower pressure of a storm and respond by searching for food. Strong winds make it difficult or impossible for birds to rest on the water, so they gather on beaches, open fields, or parking lots where they can rest, or they simply fly. Ocean birds have adapted to wind, so windy conditions (to a point) might be preferable, as the wind allows them to travel faster with less effort. And strong waves along the shoreline can stir up the sand and mud there and create a bonanza of food for gulls and other birds. All of this means that storms make waterbirds more active and more visible.