Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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|| 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 solar eclipse as the topic. On the day of this comic's release, Monday, August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse was visible in totality 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.
The comic is making a joke about how birds panic during eclipses, and Cueball tells Megan that this will happen. However, instead of just cheeping and screeching in a different pattern than birds normally do, because of the sun disappearing at an unexpected time of day, they begin to prepare to make a sacrifice to appease their gods, similar to how ancient cultures like the Aztecs, are said to have acted.
During an eclipse birds and other animals are reported to show atypical behavior. Birds stop singing during totality, then greet the return of the sun with a "dawn chorus". Owls, however, become active as do mosquitos.
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 is standing together looking right.]
- Cueball: I heard that during an eclipse the birds all freak out.
- Megan: I guess we'll see!
- [While they keep standing in the same position, the white background sky turns darker. Beat panel.]
- [As the sky turns to tusk, the birds are heard. The birds are off-panel, and their sounds are written above Cueball and Megan inside squiggly lines.]
- Bird 1 off-panel: Chirp Chirp!
- Bird 2 off-panel: Chirp!
- Bird 3 off-panel: Peep peep peep!
- Bird 4 off-panel: Squawk!
- [The sky is now very dark, more so at the top of the panel. The birds continues to make sounds off-panel as before.]
- Bird 5 off-panel: Chirp!
- Bird 6 off-panel: Clank clank clank
- Bird 7 off-panel: The time is upon us!
- Bird 8 off-panel: Peep!
- Bird 9 off-panel: Kachunk
- Bird 10 off-panel: Prepare the blood cauldron!
- Cueball: Wow.
- Megan: Isn't nature amazing?
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