Animals are known for their ability to sense inclement weather before it arrives—horses get agitated, dogs get hyper and weird. As skies darken and wind kicks up, animals generally demonstrate that they know something’s up. But a new study on golden-winged warblers suggests that birds may have weather forecasting abilities that far eclipse anything we’ve previously observed.
Back in April, severe weather, including tornadoes, ripped through the Great Plains. In Tennessee, the warblers were busy breeding, when suddenly they took off and headed to Florida. Either they wanted to retire and play shuffleboard, or something else was going on. In a study published in Current Biology, researchers from the University of Tennessee and the University of Minnesota theorize that the birds were able to hear the incoming storms more than 24 hours before they hit thanks to something called “infrasound,” which is a low-frequency noise humans can’t hear.