Why pheasants may know more than we do

Pheasants: do they know more about the weather than we do?

Pheasants: do they know more about the weather than we do? - Credit: citizenside.com

When it comes to weather predicting, maybe Nature still has a thing or two to teach us, says Grace Corne.

Today we believe we are competent with technology and probably far too sophisticated to be concerned with folk or weather lore. But perhaps it is easy to forget how much the weather does affect us. I recently travelled through an area of cattle grazing marshes. The day was cold and it was raining hard. Those marshes looked bleak and hostile with trees either black or grey fading into a grey, misty background. I unconsciously pulled up my collar to repel distinct feelings of unease.

Later that day the rain stopped, the sun shone and I travelled back along the same road. It seemed a very different place. The grass appeared lush and green and there were sheep grazing contentedly on one of the meadows. The sun was reflecting on some of the trees and I could see and hear birds. All previous feelings of discomfort had vanished.

Of course it is not only humans who are affected by the weather. Birds and animals depend on actual weather forecasting and sometimes it is well worth watching them. For example it has been noticed that if pheasants come to feed earlier than usual bad weather may follow, and if pigeons are late returning at night it will very frequently rain.

Countrymen will often observe the behaviour of robins. It is said that if they sing out in the open the weather will be good, but if they remain in a hedge or a bush to sing it is a sign of a coming storm.

Humans not only feel uncomfortable in adverse weather conditions they, too, can manage weather forecasting. How often have we heard complaints about painful corns before a rain? Some people know by the tingling of their scalp when high winds are due and others will have a headache or be thoroughly disagreeable before a thunderstorm. These are all signs which in the past would have served as warnings, and to be honest they are just as reliable as a weather forecast on a mobile phone. They should not be ridiculed as they have served us well for centuries.