Bombogenesis: when a mid-latitude cyclone rapidly intensifies, dropping at least 24 millibars over 24 hours. (NOAA)
Many of us New Englanders heard the meteorological term “bombogenisis” for the first time when the recent storm dumped snow everywhere. The pressure dropped more than 50 mbar in 24 hours in that storm, creating a cyclone that screwed up plans/wreaked havoc all long the Eastern seaboard.
Backyards – they’re not just for humans anymore
In the middle of such a storm, one would think that our nation’s backyard birds would be hunkered down somewhere. We weren’t sure if any would be out, but we put extra food in all the feeders just in case.
As it turned out, none of them were concerned about braving the weather to feast at an all-you-can-eat buffet, even when it was howling out!
The most popular feeder is the hanging glass one from Gardener’s Supply Company. It is heavy enough not to be tossed around and large enough to let a few birds sit inside and feed. Only so many can fit into the RainyDayGarden avian AirBnB at any one time, so they share the space in a first-come, first-served kind of way. Even so, there is always a lot of jostling for position.
Even though the cardinal is bigger than the sparrows, it isn’t able to maneuver itself onto a landing spot of the hanging glass feeder if a bird is already there, so it has to wait its turn on a nearby branch. Of course, it didn’t take the cardinal long to realize those sparrows were never going to let him take a turn, so he found a quieter restaurant.
The Blue Jays, not known to be slow on the uptake, followed the cardinal’s lead and checked out the momentarily-sparrow-free upper feeder as well. The upstair’s feeder was a DIY project inspired by an IKEA indoor greenhouse. We like it because we don’t have to go outside to fill it. The birds like it because it is roomy. The only downside for them is they are further away from the safety of the trees and bushes. Still, they will fly up to it when the other feeders are either too crowded or empty.
The birds are not the only ones bellying up to the feeders. Our friend, Fatty McFatfat, gave a master class on “The Art of Mindful Eating.” Or “Yoga for Agile, Tree-Dwelling Rodents,” not sure which.
And now for the humans
Even though the crazy storm blew itself out in a day, it dragged a huuuuge chunk of frigid arctic air from our good friends in the north down to and all over an enormous swath of the Continental United States. This meant a few single-digit days where everything not already turned in a block of ice…turned into a block of ice.
We kept a close eye on the conditions (temperature, wind chill, etc) before venturing out. We were able to do that thanks in part to the Acu-Rite weather station we put up a few years ago.
Someone in the office pooh-poohed the need for such a device when we first set up our wireless weather station, but now everyone checks the info before heading outside.
Wind speed/direction, temperature, rain gauge, barometric pressure, AND relative humidity…more data and info than you can shake a dowsing stick at!!! The external unit is solar powered and WiFi connected to the display inside (thank gawd). Oh yeah, because is it “connected,” it also scrolls weather updates from the Web.
We have yet to set up the automatic upload/sharing of our local data to the web, but it is on the RainyDayInterns’ ToDo list as soon as they are done with their other tasks.
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