You think it drives just animals nuts? It’s causing thousands of otherwise sane humans to visit Hopkinsville, KY — WaPo commentor
Per the Washington Post, “During the solar eclipse, animals will be extremely confused“:
Margarita Woc Colburn’s childhood memories of a July 1991 total solar eclipse in Central America are of a social gathering for excited adult relatives who spent hours waiting for an event that was over in minutes.
But the future veterinarian’s gaze was drawn earthward.
“I was looking down on a valley in Guatemala, and I just remember the flock of birds, this massive thing going down to the trees getting ready for nesting, just like what you see at night,” Woc Colburn said, describing a short span when the moon completely obscured the sun. “Then, it felt like a new day. Birds came out and were singing.”
Today she is an associate veterinarian and researcher at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere — which is in the path of totality. During Monday’s total solar eclipse, Woc Colburn’s primary concern once again will be on the animals she has made her life’s work. She predicts birds are likely to provide the greatest spectacle this time around, too.
“We might see something similar with the starlings,” she said. “I’m interested to see whether they go to roost. It will get very noisy if they do.”
Woc Colburn thinks additional bird species and other zoo animals such as lemurs, clouded leopards and kangaroos may also begin to exhibit nighttime habits when totality hits, whether that’s waking up, going to sleep or lining up for a feeding.
It’s all speculation, however, which is something Woc Colburn finds quite surprising.
There is scant research on animal behavior during solar eclipses, owing primarily to the rarity of such events and the difficulty of recording enough observations. That’s poised to change…
Observers nationwide, including visitors to the Nashville Zoo, are being encouraged to join an ambitious and unprecedented attempt at crowdsourced scientific research by using the California Academy of Sciences’ iNaturalist app to document animal reactions.
Nashville researchers also plan to scrape social media postings that tag the zoo. Spokesman Jim Bartoo said researchers will accept any analog observations that are submitted…
Eclipse watchers are bracing for a major bummer should clouds obscure their view. While Woc Colburn agrees that would be a serious letdown, she also noted that clouds shouldn’t affect how animals react, so those who choose to spend the eclipse at the zoo won’t be wholly deprived of a unique experience…
From the earlier WaPo story on the iNaturalist app:
… Created by the California Academy of Sciences, iNaturalist allows anyone to take a picture of an animal (or plant or fungi or whatever) and make an attempt to identify it. Then others, including experts, weigh in on whether your ID is correct or not…
On the day of the eclipse, the app will feature a special drawdown menu that allows you to record observations leading up to, during, and after the astronomical event. Simply keep an eye out for any interesting or unusual behavior and snap a few pics while you enjoy the show…
I’ve never tried to download any apps to my second-hand Galaxy S6, but I may have to encourage my ombraphilic Spousal Unit to do so for the big event. Since he plans for us to observe the partial eclipse from our back yard, this will put him into a Virgo dilemma — on the one hand, he could record any unusual behavior on the part of our little rescue dogs; on the other hand, he’ll be terrified that they’ll damage their retinas…
(For the record, I predict even Sydney, who is the youngest and most nervous of our pack, will pay absolutely no attention whatsoever to the Great Event. And even were he to notice, dogs don’t stare at the sun. But if I’m gonna be dragged out to watch the show, I might as well enjoy whatever side benefits I can derive.)
Apart from eclipse-watching preparation, what’s on the agenda for the day?