Bird Camp Diaries: August 2007

Dog Days of Summer

Written from the lighter side of conservation,

Written from the lighter side of conservation, "On The Wing" is the new monthly eNewsletter from Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever.

Saint Paul, Minn. - August 17 -

Chances are if you live in the U.S., or even planet earth, you're feeling the August heat, what they call the "Dog Days" of summer.

Everyone knows what and when the "Dog Days" are – the hot, muggy periods at the end of the summer. It's also when the Kansas City Royals are officially eliminated from contention.

But have you ever wondered why and where the common expression "Dog Days" came from? Me too. So I set out on an internet exploration mission to find out. Then I got overheated and dehydrated, and I quit…Fortunately, I'm resilient, and I always carry a water bottle.

My initial guess was that when it got that hot, people just lied around like their lazy dogs. I was not close.

According to Wikipedia (so you know it's true), the term "Dog Days" was coined by the ancient Romans, who called these days caniculares dies (days of the dogs) after Sirius (the "Dog Star" not satellite radio), the brightest star in the heavens besides the Sun. This proves that I'm a horrible guesser, which I already knew to be true. It also proves that I paid little or no attention in the A) history and B) astrology courses I took in college.

While the sweltering heat may be unbearable in most places, it's easy to take solace in the fact that in one mere month, the season will be changing. Soon enough, we'll be taking to the fields with good friends and good dogs in search of good times. Like you, I can't wait.

But with this year's weather pattern, I really shouldn't get ahead of myself with expectations. I imagine we can expect a healthy dose of Indian summer, but we've all seen how well my guesses pan out.

And speaking of Indian summer, I wonder why they call it that anyway? Sounds like another visit to Wikipedia, and a story for next time…

For more fun tales and interesting features, view all of On The Wing.

Anthony Hauck - Public Relations Specialist, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever

Pheasants Forever is a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to the protection and enhancement of pheasants, quail and other wildlife populations in North America through habitat improvement, land management, public awareness and education. Such efforts benefit landowners and wildlife alike.