About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Who else is enjoying Indian Summer?

Haven’t the last couple of days have been beautiful?  Dolly is catching all the rays she can.

According to Wikipedia: “An Indian summer is a meteorological phenomenon that occurs in autumn, in the Northern Hemisphere. It is characterized by a period of sunny, warm weather, after the leaves have turned following an onset of frost, but before the first snowfall.”
Why Indian? Well, no one knows. It first shows up in writing in 1778, in a letter from French-American farmer named St. John de Crevecoeur who wrote:

“Sometimes the rain is followed by an interval of calm and warmth which is called the Indian Summer; its characteristics are a tranquil atmosphere and general smokiness.”

Chances are we will never know the origin of the phrase but some theories are:

• When European settlers first came, Native Americans were the first point out the pattern.
• It was the period when Native American peoples harvested their crops.
• The phenomenon was more common in what were then North American Indian territories.
• In a parallel with other 'Indian' terms it implied a belief in false promise by an Indian and that an Indian summer was a false copy of the real summer.
• It relates to the marine shipping trade in the Indian Ocean; trading ships used this good weather period to travel to the Indian Ocean. Several ships actually had an "I.S." mark on their hulls at the load level thought safe during the Indian Summer.

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