FINDINGS

Detailed Results

Here is more information for those Schematic of eclipse zoneswho are interested in exactly what the data revealed.  While this project gives some interesting insights into animal behaviour during eclipses, like any piece of exciting science, it also leads to more questions.

We first divided the country into five zones, each where the eclipse was seen in different magnitudes, and Zone 1 saw the most complete eclipse for the longest time, while Zone 5 saw the least complete eclipse. For a visual depiction of the zones in India and the locations from where citizens have sent in information, look at the map on the left. No information came in from Zone 5, so this is excluded from further consideration.

Below are graphics showing the activity of the species under study changed with the progression of the eclipse. Each graphic has four panels, representing the four zones (of different Example panel of EclipseWatch resultsmagnitudes of eclipse) from which information was contributed. In each panel, the horizontal line (or the X axis) represents the different times at which observations were made by the participants. The vertical line (or the Y axis) represents the proportion of the observations that showed the behaviour of interest (ie, calling or flying). The numbers arranged horizontally at the top of the panel show the number of participants who made observations at each of the time periods. The thick black line within each panel is an estimate of how the behaviour changed over the course of the day, and the brown bands around it indicate the degree of precision of the estimate. (Formally, they show the 80% confidence interval around the estimate.) Wider bands mean that one must be more skeptical about the estimate. For technical details about analysis and how to interpret these graphs, please click here.

You can also download and use all the raw data submitted by EclipseWatch volunteers.


1. Crow calling behaviour

From the contributed data it seems that crows did show some changes in their calling behaviour during the eclipse. In the zone where the eclipse was the strongest (Zone 1 – top left panel), Crows seemed to reduce calling as the eclipse set in, and the number of calls increased as the eclipse ended. The same behaviour was seen in Zone 2 and Zone 3, but to a smaller extent. In Zone 4, the region furthest from the peak eclipse, we had few participants, and the trends seen are unclear. In summary, we can conclude that, Yes, crows seemed to call differently during the eclipse, and calling reduced during the eclipse, and picked up towards the end of it.

2. Crow flying behaviour

Again we see a change in behaviour during the eclipse. In Zone 1 crows flew less as the eclipse began and moved towards the peak period, and increased flying as the eclipse ended. Again, this behaviour is not as strong in Zones 2 and 3, where the eclipse was not as pronounced. We have the least data for Zone 4, where the eclipse was weakest, and cannot conclude anything conclusive from this. In summary, Yes, Crows did seem to alter their flying behaviour during the eclipse – there were fewer flying crows in the sky as the eclipse began, and more as the eclipse ended.

3. Kite flying behaviour

Kites showed a different behaviour from Crows, and overall, there was no striking changes in Kite flying patterns. Even in Zone 1, Kites did not reduce flying or come down from the sky through the eclipse. In fact, the data suggests there was a small increase followed by a decrease in the number of Kites flying at the time of the beginning of the eclipse in Zone 2. However, during the rest of the eclipse there was no noticeable decrease in the number of Kites flying in the sky in this or any other Zone. In Zone 3, there was an increase in the number of Kites flying in the sky during the peak eclipse time, and a decrease towards the end of the eclipse. In the zone furthest from the peak eclipse, we had too little data for any valid conclusions to be made. In summary, Kites showed no significant decrease in flight during the eclipse, and in fact there were a few instances of increased flying by Kites through the eclipse.

4. Pigeon flying behaviour

According to our participants, Pigeons showed differing patterns in different zones, and were less active in Zone 1, where there were very few Pigeons flying around during the eclipse. There were no clear patterns in Zones 2, 3, or 4, and there were some increases and decreases in flight activity that were not consistent across the eclipse. In summary, Pigeons seemed to decrease their activity briefly during the eclipse in Zone 1, but were inconsistent in their reactions to the eclipse in other zones.

5. Sparrow calling behaviour

Participants reported that Sparrows, like Pigeons, show varying behaviours across different Zones. In Zone 1, Sparrows called less as the eclipse set in, and started to call more as the eclipse came to an end. However, in Zone 2, there was a steady increase in the calling of sparrows through the eclipse, while in Zone 3 there was not much change in calling behaviour of sparrows. To conclude, we see that Sparrows did not show any consistent reactions to the eclipse across zones, though in the peak zone they did decrease calling during the eclipse.

6. What about bats, lizards and dogs ?

Unfortunately, the number of observations reported on other animals like geckos, bats and dogs were not enough to infer any trend. In case of dogs, there were contradicting observations, even from the same place. One person reported that dogs were very active during peak of the eclipse while others said that they were inactive during the eclipse. There were very few observations of geckos and bats, though there were interesting anecdotal reports. One person reported that geckos outdoors called during the peak of the eclipse. One person watching bat colonies on trees reported that they were flying around, while another who observed bats stated they did not show any change in behavior. In summary, reports on these species were too few to come to any conclusion about their behaviour.