Bird pre fire/rain behavior and female initiation of action.

Subject: Bird pre fire/rain behavior and female initiation of action.
From: David Roots <>
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 1998 15:34:06 +1100 (EST)
Two points of (perhaps) irrelevant interest.
(1) There is a fair body of documentation about 'unusual animal behavior' 
before earthquakes. The US Geological Survey has a doco film titled, I
think,  'Tomorrow's Earthquake' that lists several well recognised responses. 

Birds go quiet just before a quake, while dogs will bark in a frenzied 
manner for no apparent reason, and frogs may croak in the middle of the day
when normally they would be quiet. 

Possible explanations include the 
considerable electromagnet changes as a quake begins, and the 
increased release of radon gas with increasing ground stress. 
Birds and dogs probably sense both, humans do not. 

Hard to see either effect preceeding a bush fire, but the increasing 
release of plant oils due to high temperatures that assist the 
post-start get away of a fire could be the reason here.

(2) While on Mt Gower on Lord Howe Island a year or so ago, I watched
a female Wood Hen (it turned out) come out of the mist forest and 
inspect a bundle of rucksacs with great interest. She then abruptly 
started a strident calling, to be answered by the high speed arrival 
of another wood hen, who then mounted her, with great enthusiasm. 
Once finished, they both wandered off. 
Clearly this female called the tune, and the male responded, 
once permission was granted. 

David Roots.

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