My Side of the Mountain

by Jean George

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What did Sam use as a barometer in My Side of the Mountain?  

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Interesting question! In the book My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George, Sam utilized an interesting “barometer.” In the wilderness, Sam did not possess a barometer. Thus, he utilized a nuthatch as a barometer.

Before utilizing the nuthatch as a barometer, Sam got caught in a winter storm. Sam left his tree home. Although Sam realized that he could survive in other places, he still enjoyed his home and did not want to survive in a different location. As the text reveals:

“Not that I was afraid of being caught far from home in a storm, for I could find food and shelter and make a fire anywhere, but I had become as attached to my hemlock house as a brooding bird to her nest.”

Thus, Sam began using the nuthatch as a barometer. With this, Sam watched the nuthatch to determine the weather. For example, if the nuthatch came to his nest early, Sam would return to his home early as well. As the text illustrates:

“I considered him [the nuthatch] a pretty good barometer, and if he went to his tree early, I went to mine early too.”

Therefore, Sam utilized the nuthatch as his own form of barometer. Although Sam did not have a weather radio, he used the nuthatch to determine when storms were coming and when it was safe to venture outside.  

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