May 18 2014

Weather’s Wardrobe Challenge

Published by at 7:20 am under Weather & Sky

What to wear. Weather's wardrobe challenge, May 2014 (photo by Kate St. John)

The weather has been so up-and-down lately that it’s hard to dress for birding. At home my winter clothes are piled in stacks, waiting to be washed after I pulled out summer shirts for last week’s 87 degrees.

Now the summer clothes are in stacks and I’ve yanked sweaters out of the winter pile.  It’s 42 degrees this morning and will be 37 at dawn tomorrow.

What to wear for outdoor activities this month?  It’s a wardrobe challenge.

 

p.s.  It’s more than a wardrobe challenge for swallows, purple martins, chimney swifts and nighthawks.  It can be life-threatening.  These species eat flying insects which don’t fly when it’s cold.  Fortunately the next two days will be sunny with highs of 62 and 71 so the insects will be flying later in the day.  If you missed it, read here about purple martin landlords providing supplemental feedings in cold weather.

(photo by Kate St. John)

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Weather’s Wardrobe Challenge”

  1. Laurieon 18 May 2014 at 8:23 am

    So coordinated!

    As I was in the woods this week watching scarlet tanagers, I wondered if the color I wear affects the birds’ response to me. Would they be less skittish if I dressed in camo, or more likely to notice me if I’m wearing bright red? Just curious.

  2. Kate St. Johnon 18 May 2014 at 8:28 am

    Laurie, Scarlet tanagers indeed notice if you are wearing red or orange. When I hike I carry a lightweight plastic orange vest in case I need it in hunting season and sometimes sit on it when the ground is wet. It has a black border. One June day I was sitting on it eating my lunch in the woods at Moraine State Park when a scarlet tanager came down low in a tree to look at me. He stayed for a while, never really looking at me, just looking at the vest under me. …Red-winged blackbirds are even more attracted by red-within-black and will “attack” the spot.

  3. Shannonon 18 May 2014 at 8:34 am

    Laurie, I certainly notice a difference in birds reaction to me depending on the colors I’m wearing. If I wear my bright red fleece in the field, which is warmer in this weather we’ve had lately, the birds tend to stay a bit farther from me. If I throw my green fleece on, they don’t care. I try to make sure that I wear colors that are more muted when I’m out in the field to see the best birds.

    Just a personal observation… :)

  4. Rob Protzon 18 May 2014 at 9:46 am

    But red and orange will bring in hummers too! :)

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