May 9, 2013

Keeping an ear out for cicadas

I can't wait to hear the first cicada. Here in the northeast, the brood is about to awaken.

The last time they awoke was either 13 or 17 years ago. I think we're expecting the 17-year brood this Spring. Personally, I'm hoping it's bigger than the last awakening. They cite these astronomically high numbers when telling us what to expect, but it was no big deal last time this happened.

In fact, it was kind of fun. Yes, you heard them in the trees but not incessantly. And there certainly weren't billions, or even millions of them in our neck of the woods. They were about as common as sparrows, I'd say. No more, no less. But that may have been the 13-year brood. This year could be different.

I think everyone over the age of 30 has a story to tell about the day a cicada reared up in their car as they were driving. That happened to me and it's such a shocking thing. You don't realize you have one in the car and then it lifts into the air and begins to "sing". The noise is deafening, especially inside a car. And cicadas are notoriously clumsy. They'll fly right into you, including inside your car as you're driving. I didn't crash and I don't know of anyone else who did. But it's an event that you'll always remember.

And then it was over and their bodies were scattered on the ground. They have such a short lifespan. It seems like a helluva way to live. Anyway, wake up, cicadas! If nothing else, the local animals will have a ton of good meals.

Got a good cicada story? Share it in the comments.

Image: Wikipedia Commons
Note that you can hear the cicada's song at the Wikipedia link above. Look for the "song" link in the right column on the page. It says "Calling song of the Magicicada Cassini" (which is the exact brand of cicada that's about to awaken).

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