Animals, birds and earthquake predictions?

Can animals and birds predict quakes, and do they leave an area after one? One of the effects of the Christchurch earthquake means our conversations around the water cooler, and over our fabulous coffee which we Kiwi are very fussy about, means quakes and how to predict them  are high on the chatter topics.

Last night I was talking with friends over the charlatans and soothsayers who seem to think they know things  that thousands of scientists, with years and years of international study behind them, don’t know.  A curse on all their houses I say!

The only good thing is that perhaps they are making people think about creating a survival kit … enough to be self sufficient for 72 hours is the recommendation by New Zealand Civil Defence.

We also talked about ‘birds leaving Christchurch after the first quake’ … as someone who was living there at the time of the September 4th 2010, 7.1 quake, I can tell you the birds never left the huge trees beside my apartment block in the centre of the city!

However I decided to do some research … but of course it’s all ‘after the quake’ research and I wonder how much the people who report natural events are influenced by their expectations or imagination.  This is not a criticism, just a fact of being human.  Police and other agencies have often said – 6 people witnessing an event will report six different views of the same incident.

Here is some of what I found:

The earliest reference we have to unusual animal behaviour prior to a significant earthquake is from Greece in 373 BC.  Rates, weasels, snakes, and centipedes reportedly left their homes and headed for safety several days befor a destructive earthquake.  Anectdotal evidence abounds of animals, fish, birds, reptiles, and insects exhibiting strange behavior anywhere from weeks to seconds before an earthquake.  However, consistent and reliable behavior prior to seismic events, and a mechanism explaining how it could work, still eludes us.  Most, but not all, scientists pursuing this mystery are in China or Japan.” read more of article this here ( Sic. Spelling mistakes as per the website!)

For knowledgeable, scientific  information I believe this NZ site will give you the best information.