GRANDMA SAYS: Rain’s a comin’ when woodpeckers peckApril 16, 2018
Last Wednesday evening I was out washing my car in the driveway — move over robin red breast, that’s a true sign of spring — but I digress.
While I was out, I could hear the “toc toc” sound of a woodpecker on a nearby maple tree.
I could also hear the more pleasant sound my Grandma’s voice saying “we won’t be hanging laundry out to dry tomorrow, it’s going to rain.”
Grandma was convinced that when woodpeckers were hammering on a tree, there was rain coming. Sure enough, a line of showers pushed across the city Thursday afternoon.
Over the years, I have found this weather observation to be quite accurate, but why? Could there be an explanation? I’ve spent some time looking in to this and found yet another connection between science and nature.
Woodpeckers feed on insects. Many insects become more active when the air pressure drops and the humidity rises; both these things happen ahead of an area of low pressure or rain maker.
The insects come out of crevices in the bark; the woodpecker sees the ants and other tasty treats crawling on the bark and he settles in for a feast.
Experts agree there are cases where woodpeckers do find food in wood, but most of the late winter and early spring drilling or hammering as Grandma called it, is done to make a noise to court mates. This is the woodpecker’s way of singing a song to declare territory.
This answers the question I received last week from Lee Hobin. Lee wanted to know if Grandma had anything to say about two woodpeckers going around and around and up and down a tree together looking like they were about to kiss . . . I guess that solves that little mystery, too!
I’ve said this many times before: if we take time to look and listen, nature can teach us so much!
WEATHER FACT: Moon matters
Each day, there are two high tides and two low tides. There is about 12 hours and 25 minutes between the two high tides. Most of us know that when the moon is full, the high tides are very high and the low tides very low. But did you know the same thing occurs during a new moon?
When the sun and moon are aligned, the gravitational pull of the moon and sun are combined, creating exceptionally strong gravitational forces. This happens when the moon is full but also when it is new. This month’s new moon was yesterday!