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Showing posts from September, 2015

Autumn or Fall?

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GOING NATURE’S WAY By Kate Crowley We have now officially said farewell to summer.  On September 23rd the sun had moved far enough south that we had nearly equal hours of daylight and night time.  Now it’s just a gradual, but inevitable slide into the darkness (a bleak description I know).  I am already looking forward to December 21st.   But as I thought about the change of season I wondered why and how we call this particular season, both Autumn and Fall; the only season that has two words to describe it. I had to do some research to satisfy my curiosity. Turns out that for most of recorded human history there was recognition of just two seasons – winter and summer, the exception being the Chinese who divided the year into what we now call spring and autumn.  The word ‘autumn’ is Latin in origin and was first used in the 14th Century, replacing the term ‘harvest’. The use of Fall appears in the 16th or 17th century, depending on who you consult.  One of the first citations for ‘fall’ i…

Cats and birds

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migration mysteries - Kate Crowley

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WINGIN’ IT By Kate Crowley Every year about this time my birding thoughts are focused on migration. I can’t help it.  Everywhere I look; up, down and straight ahead I see birds in motion and I know that they are heading south. I admit to feeling a bit melancholy about this annual procession, because I know it’s going to be a long seven to eight months before we will see them again. Just how birds make this biannual trip remains in some ways as much as a mystery as it was for our ancestors.  We have developed different technologies that give us a great deal of information about the routes they follow, but just how they manage the journey continues to inspire researchers and amaze the rest of us. We know that for millennia before humans walked the earth birds have been flying between North and South America. They are called neotropical migrants and we know that they come up from the south in the spring because the food sources in the northern regions are so overly abundant at that time (i…