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Natural Peterborough: September’s birds, constellations, and natural remedies for allergies

Hello darlings and welcome back! Classes are back in full swing, I’m terribly sorry for the delay of the column. Just like you I’ve been finishing up my hours from my summer job and getting myself prepped for the new year. On that note, best of luck to all returning students and to those breaking out into the real world of work.

But enough about me, onto the nature things that you want to know about.

As we head into fall, the migration of all the wonderful songbirds that you’ve been listening to is beginning, especially the Warblers, Veros, Thrushes and Fly Catchers. All these birds will flock together in large mixed groups and will stop by your shrubberies and yards on their way South. So don’t forget to leave your feeders out as there are still a number of birds to attract that will feed over the coming months.

Cerulean bird
Cerulean and Hooded Warblers are the ones most recognized in Southern Ontario. Ceruleans get their name from the distinct blue colour of their feathers. They also have thin black streaks across their neck, wings and back. Cerulean Warblers are a species at risk, threatened on the provincial level and endangered nationally.

hooded warbler
Hooded Warblers are also a threatened species but are very different in colouring. They have a dark black “hood” of feathers which makes it look as though a sweater has been pulled up over their head, which is in stark contrast to their bright yellow faces. Their bodies are yellow, muted slightly by the greying wing feathers. Both types of Warblers prefer to nest in mature forests; Cerulean’s prefer the interior of deciduous areas and Hooded like ravines.

An interesting and easy to find constellation that can be seen in the late summer is Delphinus, or the Dolphin. Delphinus consists of five stars with known planets, contains no Messier objects, and resembles a dolphin leaping out of the water. The four main stars form an asterism known as Jacob’s Coffin.

Delphinus can be seen now between Pegasus, Aquila, Equuleus and Sagitta. It was created by Greek astronomer Ptolemy and has a few tales associated with it. My favourite is the one in which Delphinus helped Greek poet Arion when his crew turned mutinous. His final request was to sing a somber song of lament. He sang the song and jumped into the sea. He becomes enchanted by the music and saves Arion.

And as many of you know, fall allergies are in full swing. We all owe a big thanks to Ragweed, dust mites and outdoor moulds for having to pick up Reactine or Aerius from the drug store. If you’re opposed to chemically developed medical aids, I have been doing some research and I have found some natural remedies and have been trying them out.

Firstly, a Neti-pot (I’ve not owned one but I had a friend who did). You can get a similar result with a cup or nasal spray. Basically you’re pouring salt water in your nose to flush your sinuses. I will not lie to you, it feels really weird.

Secondly, you can add more Omega-3s to your diet. They have been shown to aid in reduced inflammation and other allergy symptoms. Other foods like horseradish, chili peppers or hot mustard which are natural decongestants can be used to keep your airways clear.

And lastly, Stinging Nettle. While it sounds awfully scary, it’s a plant whose extract can be bought in capsules. It inhibits the body’s ability to produce histamine, thus relieving you of many of the symptoms of your common seasonal allergies without the side effects of regular allergy medications.

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