I first learned about changes in the wind when I was a young girl growing up on 125 acres of ‘wilderness’ with older brothers who spent much time hunting during deer season. Deer hunting back then (ohmygod, I’m starting to sound so OLD!) was a ritual in our house. Uncles and cousins from the city arrived the day before opening day with enough guns and ammo to wage their own war. I would wake in what seemed like the middle of the night to the scent of bacon frying and men’s voices coming from the kitchen below. I hated hunting season and all of my relatives every fall and winter for years and years.
Once the men departed in search of their prey, the women would go shopping ‘down below,’ which meant making the long drive to the city. Driving the five miles from our house to the main road, we always, always, saw deer, usually in the opposite direction from where the ‘boys’ had gone off to find them. At supper, deer hunting stories would be exchanged, along with excuses why everyone had missed their target this time. The most common excuse was that “the wind changed,” carrying the man-scent to the deer and alerting them of their impending doom. Over the years, the wind changed became a standard explanation for various changes in plans or outcomes in our family that we still use today.
But yesterday, the wind did change! No, really. The strong north winds that had stalled migration earlier in the week calmed, shifted, and now came from the south. Birds began moving overnight, resulting in happy-dances in the birder’s world.
Cutie of the day is of course the chestnut-sided warbler pictured above. A stunning little bird! Another pleasant surprise was this male mourning warbler – a new species for RRBO. I’m sure they’ve been around before, but this was the first we’ve seen or banded.