March 14, 2009

Eighth-grader Disproves Solunar Tables?

When I was little, I wondered at the fish symbols on Dad's workshop calendar that marked the supposedly best days for fishing. (He paid little attention to them, I suspect.) They were based on some version of the Solunar system, which is supposed to explain when fish and land animals feed most actively.

Field & Stream magazine has long published them (readers revolted when they were removed), and there is a version on its website.

Comes now Maddy, Grade 8, Park Forest Middle School, State College, Pa., with her research project "Does the Moon Phase have an Effect on the Birds' Activity?

Maddy's research is published in Classroom Birdscope, a publication of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Students like Maddy created hypotheses involving wild birds and then tested them. (Cornell offers resources for teachers and for homeschoolers.) In Maddy's case, she examined data other students had collected about feeder visits over the past year and correlated them with Moon phases.

She graphed the results, but labeled her graph "a jumbled mess" because no clear pattern emerged except possibly for a spike in some species' feeder visits on the sixth day of the Moon cycle--just before the first quarter.

I conducted my own less-documented experiment during November and December 2008, printing out a Solunar table for this longitude and then comparing bird-feeder activity to it. Frankly, I could not see much correlation.

1 comment:

fungur said...

I think the solunar theory works pretty well. Especially for fishing.
I even created a programm that caluclates the correct feeding times according to the solunar theory.
Fishing Reminder
Had very good success so far.