Bombogenesis: when a mid-latitude cyclone rapidly intensifies, dropping at least 24 millibars over 24 hours. (NOAA)
Most New Englanders had never heard the meteorological term “bombogenesis” before the recent storm which dumped snow everywhere and froze everything.
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
One would think that in the middle of such a storm our backyard birds would be riding out the weather somewhere snow-free and protected. We weren’t sure of their status, so we put food in all the feeders just in case.
As it turned out, many/all of them braved the weather in order to feast at our all-you-can-eat buffet, even when it was howling out!
“Our” most popular cafe was the blue hanging glass feeder from Gardener’s Supply Company.
This rather fetching feeder is heavy enough to remain vertical in all the weather it has, uh, weathered, and large enough to let a few birds sit inside and
gobble up every last bit eat. Only so many can fit into our avian AirBnB at any one time, of course, so they are forced to share the space in a first-come, first-served, get-out-you-glutton kind of way.
Even though cardinals are bigger than sparrows, ours couldn’t seem to be able to kick out any sparrows already
devouring snacking inside the Cone of Blueness, and so had to wait its turn on a nearby branch. It didn’t take the cardinal long to realize those sparrows were never going to let him take a turn, and so he took himself off to find 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 the birds 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 (of food).
The birds are not the only ones bellying up to the feeders. Our close 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 wireless weather station we first set it up, but now everyone checks its 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). It also scrolls weather updates from the Web. Of course it does.
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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All photos copyrighted by RainyDayMagazine