Why was the Great Bufflehead Crash of November 4th, 1940, followed in rapid succession by the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (Galloping Gertie) and the disastrous Armistice Day Blizzard ? As a prairie farm boy, James (Kerry) Finley learned of the mysterious mass crash in eastern Saskatchewan through local lore, and it has gripped his interest ever since. In 1999, after an arctic career studying Bowhead Whales, he turned his attention to Buffleheads, residing under his nose practically, from his home overlooking Shoal Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary in Sidney. His research includes a study area in the interior BC grasslands, and now spans fifteen life cycles of the Bufflehead between its fresh and saltwater habitats. Kerry has developed a predictive model of weather and Bufflehead migrations built on the constant of All Buffleheads Day (ABD), the 298th day of the earth’s cycle ( October 15th except in Leap years). He will explain why ABD is a national phenological phenomenon, and why it presages global weather patterns and disasters.
Why day 298 of the earth’s cycle ? Why not 297 ?
Before I present the science, I’ll have to provide the natural history behind the phenomena, which is intimately tied to my personal history.
First the facts : All Buffleheads Day (ABD) is an international standard, the 298th day of the earth’s revolution, measured at latitude 48 39 and 123 23 810 degrees west of the Prime Meridian. This is roughly eight hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), now Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), and like it, measured at the oceanic interface, facing into the weather and the future. Unlike GMT, ABD is not arbitrary. It is biologically based. In most years it will occur on October 15th, the day the first Bufflehead returns to its winter habitat in Shoal Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Vancouver Island. In Leap Years it will occur on the 14th of October.
This was the case in 1940, when it preceded the Great Bufflehead Crash by twenty days.
The Great Bufflehead Crash (GBC) happened on Monday night, November 4th, 1940. It occurred in eastern Saskatchewan, along a forty kilometer stretch of the Yellowhead corridor when migrating Buffleheads crash landed under mysterious circumstances. Casualties were in the thousands.