Weather Forecast: Can Birds Predict Weather?

231 views | 10:39am on Wednesday 9th June 2021

Do you know that birds predict weather? 

There is no scientific evidence for how birds can tell about weather, but we have all noticed birds perching on power lines is a sign of an approaching storm. That’s because low barometric pressure makes birds harder to fly. Closely observe what birds react to environmental changes, you might be surprised by what you learn!

Birds Predict Weather

Can Birds Predict Weather? 

Birds and weather predicting

Long before the advert of weather forecasters powered by advanced technology, 

people often observed the behavior of animals and correlated that to the upcoming weather patterns. 

For example, if you see birds feed during a storm, the rain will continue for a long time – but if they don’t, then the rain will end quickly. 

But are these feathered forecasters more reliable than a modern weather report

Weather Report: Us Weather for Today

Most birds predict weather thanks to the Vitali Organ, a special sensory organ in the middle ear that can sense atmospheric pressure changes. 

An approaching storm means the faster the atmospheric pressure falls. Birds tend to fly low to the ground in order to relieve discomfort caused by pressure changes in their ears at greater altitudes.

Dr. Christopher Heckscher, Associate Professor of Environmental Science & Ecology carried out a study on Veery migration when he was at the University of Delaware. The findings show that there is a link between the songbirds and hurricane season. 

Birds Predict Weather

How Can Birds Predict Weather? 

Each year, Veeries return from South America in late April or early May. That's when Heckscher and his team started doing an experiment. These birds spend several months nesting and by August they fly to South America. However, if the birds sense an active season, they will shorten their nesting.

Scientists are still trying to determine how birds predict weather. But they have some theories.

They suspect it’s array of connections related to the general characteristics of the atmosphere that drives the high cumulative cyclone energy and the really active hurricane season.

That cumulative cyclone energy could have a lot to do with cooling seawater along the tropical west coast of South America during the peak of the hurricane season, also known as "la Nina".

Birds Predict Weather

Birds Predict Weather. How come?

Below are some common bird proverbs and prognostics about the weather.

If crows fly in pairs, expect fine weather; a crow flying alone is a sign of foul weather.

  • The white of the goose sternum denotes the winter type: The red of the bone with black spots means winter is cold and stormy; Few or bright spots mean a mild winter.

  • If partridges drum in the autumn, expect a mild and open winter.

  • Domestic geese walking east and flying west mean cold weather.

  • If birds get tame in Fall, the winter will be too cold.

  • Birds predict weather: Birds flying high in the sky usually indicate fair weather. 

  • If Hawks fly high, a clear sky is expected. If they fly low, prepare for a blow.

  • Geese fly higher in fair weather than in foul.

  • When seagulls fly inland, expect a storm.

  • When fowls roost in the daytime, expect rain.

  • Petrels gathering under the stern of a ship indicates bad weather.

  • Birds singing in the rain indicate fair weather approaching.

How Predicting the Weather Helps Birds?

Severe weather not only makes it difficult for birds to fly but also causes food sources to become scarce. Birds predict weather? Yes, this ability helps them stay alive in many cases. 

For example, being able to feel an impending storm helps birds to stay alert, seek shelter or flee to avoid high winds and heavy rain.

Also read: Can animals predict weather? 

How Do Birds Predict Weather?

According to scientists, there are two distinct ways that birds feel weather. The first way is by reading the air pressure, or barometric pressure. 

Air pressure is the density of air molecules. Lower barometric pressure means cold fronts are on their way, not good for flying.

Birds Predict Weather

Do you believe birds predict weather? 

Birds are incredibly sensitive to subtle changes in air pressure. While scientists are yet to determine how they do this, the most common theory is that birds used the inner ear or air sacs connected to their lungs to air pressure. 

Birds predict weather by sensing barometric pressure apart, some birds, like golden-winged warblers, can also hear infrasound that is audible to humans. That means birds can hear a massive thunderstorm that is several days away from approaching. 

Common Bird Behavior Related to Weather

People can look at behavioral clues of birders to predict dramatic weather ahead. Below are some of the most common signs:

Birds predict weather: Perching on Power Lines

An abundance of birds perching on power lines may indicate a drop in the barometric pressure.

Birds Predict Weather

An answer to the question “Can Birds Predict Weather?” 

When the barometric pressure is low, birds have to work harder and burn more energy to fly. Thus, they tend to perch on power lines to conserve energy.

Unusual Migration

When the golden-winged warblers hear impending severe storms across the Great Plains, they tend to leave their breeding grounds in Tennessee for a more pleasant weather report in Florida. The sudden departure of golden-winged warblers can be a sign of an upcoming storm and is the answer to the question “can birds predict weather?”

Seagulls Coming ashore

Sailors have made many observations of peculiar bird behaviors to predict weather patterns and astrological events. One of the most common ones is that coastal birds tend to come ashore before inclement weather approaches. This allows the birds to avoid dangerous weather while above the water. And all birds are extremely quiet just before rain.

Spooky Silence

If you notice the quiet stillness settling in the air, that could be a sign of impending storm. Once birds sense severe weather that lead to a somewhat spooky silence, they tend to stop singing and chirping.

Conclusion

Can birds predict weather? This question has been completely solved in this article. While scientists continue to explore precise biological mechanisms, it is clear that birds have an innate ability to sense weather. So while birds may not be able to warn you of tomorrow's high temperatures or if an overnight frost is imminent, they can still be useful and practical meteorological support. However, the advance of technology has helped predicting the conditions of the atmosphere at high accuracy levels. We highly check weather online daily to get alerts about weather conditions.