We have known for quite some time that wild animals are able to sense phenomena humans are unable to understand. Two recent studies have shown that if we could talk to the animals, Dr. Dolittle style, then maybe they could help us prepare for storms and weather patterns!
|Golden-winged warbler (photo: U.S. Fish and WildlifeService- Midwest Region)|
The next study might prove an old-wives tale true. A common weather adage is that when cows lie down it is about to rain. If cows are standing in the pasture it is thought that there will be clear weather.
|photo: Kevin Walsh|
Animals can tell us so much and as scientists we are just learning how to understand them. As we uncover more and more of the mysteries of the natural world and pay more attention to natural cues we will better understand how to conserve wildlife and make choices that keep humans safer. Our ancestors were in-tune with the world around them and in many ways it is something we have lost. I hope that more studies like this will engage humans with nature again. For lesson plans and information on animal communication to engage your kids and students, check out the links below.
- Futurity: "Birds Knew to Flee Before Tornado Hit"
- Current Biology: "Tornadic Storm Avoidance Behavior in Breeding Songbirds" (Abstract)
- Daily Mail: "Cows really can predict the rain. Scientists prove they are more likely to lie down when the weather is cold."
- WeatherBug: "Can Cows Predict the Weather?"
Animal Communication Resources
- NHPTV Natureworks- Types of Animal Communication
- A Teacher's Guide to "If We Could Talk to the Animals" (PreK-2nd) [Lots of links and picture book ideas!]
- A Teacher's Guide to "If We Could Talk to the Animals"(3rd-6th)
- Kid's Science Challenge "Animal Smarts" Lesson Plans (scroll down for 3 different lesson plans)
- Science NetLinks: Animal Communication Lesson
- Weblessons Online Learning "Ways Animals Communicate"