Sunday, March 2nd, I heard our local Cardinal chirping away happily while I shoveled the snow. Therefore Spring is only a couple of weeks away!

How’s that for sticking my neck out? Well,why not? That is my recollection of how it happened in two snowy years past. On those occasions I was shoveling the snow, the Cardinal sang his happy song and viola, Spring came soon after. OK, it could have been three weeks, but it was relatively soon. You think I’m buying more time? Yes, but I am also simply providing my best recollection. Personal observation is empirical, not scientific.

I Googled the topic (animal behavior and the weather) and found an online article (2009) by Jessica Toothman. She notes that some animal senses surpass our own. For example, birds seem more sensitive to changes in air and water pressure than humans. But apparently science has been busy studying other topics and there are no good scientific, peer-approved studies I could find.

The only available evidence is anecdotal. In December of 2004 a tidal wave hit Indonesia. While there were an estimated 200,000 human fatalities, there were no reports of great loss of animal life. But then animals don’t report the loss of loved ones, and the humans are focused on the human condition. Still, one can legitimately suggest that the animals were aware of the danger before the humans were. Human experience over time suggests animals sense things we don’t.

After reading about swallows, I have observed they do fly close to the ground when rain is approaching. Most of the time they fly higher, well above our heads. Perhaps their prey, insects, are hovering closer to the ground. But bird observations are easier to make. Still, observing the swallows can help you avoid the rain.

So my past experience with Cardinals tells me that we should see a major break in the weather just before St. Patrick’s Day. Or … maybe the weekend after that. I know … this is March we’re talking about … but with the way our weather has gone this year I’m still sticking my neck out. As I blog this, our projected high for today, March 3rd, is eighteen degrees and Weather dot com indicates this is going to be a cold March for the midwest. Who is correct? I’m rooting for the Cardinal.

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