When birds fly low, pre­pare for a blow

Journal Pioneer - - WEATHER -

I’m al- ways re­mind­ing peo­ple to look up and around, so I guess I can’t com­plain if some­one stops to ask me about some­thing they’ve seen.

One day last week I was ap­proached by a man who wanted to know what the birds were do­ing. In a small field across from the park­ing lot where we stood, a large flock of star­lings had gath­ered. It looked a lit­tle bit like a scene from that clas­sic Hitch­cock movie, “The Birds!”

I di­gress . . . . It was an over­cast af­ter­noon and the air was heavy with mois­ture; rain was im­mi­nent.

The an­swer to the man’s ques­tion lies in that sen­tence. Small birds strug­gle when the air fills with mois­ture. it be­comes dif­fi­cult for them to fly near the base of the clouds where the air is sat­u­rated, so they stay close to the ground.

There’s also the is­sue of wind. Rain sys­tems of­ten come with wind gusts and down­drafts, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for a lit­tle bird to fly high off the ground. When you see large flocks of birds close to or on the ground, it’s usu­ally a sign of a storm, or at least heavy rain!

Our an­ces­tors be­lieved an­i­mals could pre­dict the weather and, while that can be true, in many cases the an­i­mals are “re­act­ing” to the chang­ing con­di­tions. We can learn so much by ob­serv­ing the an­i­mals!

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