LOON-ACY. While the name of the bird “loon” is NOT derived from the moon, or lunar, a good number of other words are. We talk about those origins and the pull of the moon on fish and wildlife in today’s Three Things.
Photo: A loon moves about in the gray morning light. Simonson Photo.
WEATHER (Bismarck Forecast):
Today: Tue 5/15 – Smokin’ southwesterlies. Hi 82, Lo 50, Wind SW@11. Tomorrow: Wed 5/16 – Even hotter! Hi 85, Lo 54, Wind S@10.
SOLUNAR (Bismarck Times):
Sunrise: 6:08AM Sunset: 9:11PM
Moonrise: 6:42AM Moonset 9:30PM
Overhead: 2:00PM Underfoot: 1:33AM
Moon Phase: New @ 6:48AM
EDGE HOUR 6:00-7:00AM. Sunrise and moonrise fall in the Edge Hour and the moon at peak newness will deliver a strong bite.
NOT LOONY. The common loon gets its name from the Swedish word “lom” which means “clumsy” or “lame.” So named because of its awkward way of walking on land, the loon loses its sleekness and gracefulness observed in the water the second in comes up on shore. They’re also really bad at landing on the water, skipping and skidding to a stop, so if you’ve ever seen one use the water’s surface as its braking system, it also works there.
MOONSTRUCK. Lunatic on the other hand is derived from the Latin base “lunaticas” meaning one who is moon-struck or suffering from a mental disease. A variety of now-diagnosed impairments, including epilepsy and various forms of anxiety, depression and personality disorders once fell into the moonstruck category of “lunacy.” We’re not sure if walleye fever is in the DSM-V yet.
GONE WILD. The moon is a major influencer of animal behaviors. Its biggest effect is on fish and water birds, which feed on the rising and falling tides that move bait and other prey items around. This phenomenon is not limited to the ocean, as the moon triggers a feeding and activity uptick on the fish in inland waters as well. Nocturnal animals don’t move as much in a full moon, and may be more active at dawn and dusk, which usually coincides with the full moon’s rise and set.