Māori & Birds of Prey / Raptor Weather forecasts
“Over to our resident raptor to tell us about tomorrow's weather.”
Before the advent of modern day meteorologists and the grinning personalities we refer to today as “weather reporters” it was commonplace for people to predict the weather by observing the behaviour of animals that they believed had predictable patterns. Māori, and later Pākehā (caucasians), observed New Zealand’s birds in this manner.
The behaviour of our birds of prey in particular were thought to predict the upcoming weather patterns. For example:
• A ruru (morepork) heard calling once at night was a sign of bad weather
• Morepork answering one another meant a storm was brewing
• The appearance of many morepork in autumn was a sign of gales and a heavy winter
• The hurried chuckling cry of the morepork was a sign of rain
• If the kārearea (New Zealand falcon) screamed on a fine day - it was predicted to rain the next
• If the kārearea screamed on a rainy day – it was predicted to be fine the next
• The cackling call of the whēkau (laughing owl) predicted the onset of rainy weather
Judging by how often it rains when our weather reporters say it is going to be sunny – it seems like this may well have been just as accurate as those weather reports we get every night on TV!