The Sea Gulls Have Landed

Entry for Sunday, 1/23/11

Subjects: Inspiration & Education

If you live in the United States – especially in parts of the country prone to extreme weather – you probably have heard of and possibly pay attention to the weather predictions printed in the “Farmer’s Almanac.” The periodical (first printed in 1818) has become a household name and is generally accurate in its reporting. So what does this have to do with seagulls? Since I have lived a majority of my life on the East Coast, I’ve always observed an ominous influx of sea gulls prior that have flown inland prior to a major storm. Coincidence? I think not! Exhibits A & B:

© Theresa C. Sanchez, Hipstamatic App, Lens: Helga Viking, Film: Kodot KGrizzled
  © Theresa C. Sanchez, Hipstamatic App, Lens: Helga Viking, Film: Kodot XGrizzled

These birds don’t belong in a parking lot! Ellicott City, MD is landlocked and nearly an hour northwest of the Chesapeake Bay and about three hours west of the Atlantic Ocean. I decided to take matters into my own hands and research the phenomenon. The information I am looking for is known as “weather lore,” which is essentially folklore used to predict weather. You might have heard the saying: “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky at morning, sailors take warning.” The Library of Congress has a “fun science fact” section online called “Everyday Mysteries.” They report  that “Weather lore concerning the appearance of the sky, the conditions of the atmosphere, the type of movement of the clouds, and the direction of the clouds, and the direction of the winds may have a scientific basis and likely can predict the weather.” There is a scientific reason behind that phrase and it’s further explained at the LOC’s website listed below:

So what about the birds and all the other lore? BBC Nature UK recognized the sea gull spectacle as part of a 2010 “Summer Folklore” article. The birds even have their own proverb: “Seagull, seagull sit on the sand. It’s never good weather when you’re on land.” BBC writer Emma Brennand reports that the sea gull presence inland is “less a prediction of future weather and more a statement of the current weather situation. Seagulls love to be in flight or sat relaxing on a flat, calm sea. If the weather takes a turn for the worst they will retreat inland to avoid blustery winds.”

To learn more about other “weather lore” and to read the article referenced above in its entirety, visit:

I was unable to find out the weather conditions were like in Delaware on Saturday (1/22/11) and Sunday (1/23/11), but I DO know that the DC metro area was slammed with a winter storm on Tuesday (1/25/11) night and all day and night Wednesday (1/26/11). I’ll have to pay more attention next time – which looks like this week!

C’est la vie! That’s life in the Mid-Atlantic!