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Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Revision as of 23:07, 7 August 2012

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki! We currently have 11 comic explanations. Come and add yours!

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Eclipse Birds
'Hey! Put her down!' 'No, it's ok! The next chance for me to be carried to a blood cauldron isn't until 2024!'
Title text: 'Hey! Put her down!' 'No, it's ok! The next chance for me to be carried to a blood cauldron isn't until 2024!'


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: More on birds/animals behavior during an eclipse. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.

This comic is the fourth consecutive comic with a solar eclipse as the topic. This comic was released in the morning on Monday, August 21, 2017, when later a total solar eclipse was visible within a band across the contiguous United States from west to east. The other comics are 1876: Eclipse Searches. 1877: Eclipse Science, and 1878: Earth Orbital Diagram.

During an eclipse birds and other animals show a typical behavior like they do in the case of the darkness in the night and a following sunrise. Birds stop singing during totality, then greet the return of the sun with a "dawn chorus". Owls, however, become active as do mosquitos.

In this comic, Cueball tells Megan that this will happen. However, instead of just cheeping and screeching in a different pattern than birds actually do during an eclipse, in the comic, the birds begin to prepare to make a sacrifice to appease their gods, similar to how ancient cultures like the Aztecs, are said to have acted. Megan remains strangely nonchalant, offering only an clichéd admiration of nature as the birds around her use fluent English to set up a sacrificial ritual.

In the title text, it turns out that the birds are about to sacrifice Megan, and Cueball tells them to stop. But Megan tells him it is OK as she wants to try experience of being carried to a blood cauldron as she won't get another chance until the next eclipse in the US on 8th of April, 2024. (A small region around Carbondale, Illinois will experience two total eclipses in 7 years).


[Cueball and Megan standing together looking to the right.]
Cueball: I heard that during an eclipse the birds all freak out.
Megan: I guess we'll see!
[Beat panel, the white background sky turns at the top slightly darker.]
[As the sky turns to dusk sounds can be heard. It's written above Cueball and Megan inside squiggly bubbles.]
Chirp Chirp!
Peep peep peep!
[The sky is now nearly dark, more at the top of the panel. The sounds continue, written in similar bubbles.]
Clank clank clank
The time is upon us!
Prepare the blood cauldron!
Cueball: Wow.
Megan: Isn't nature amazing?

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