Thursday, May 31, 2012

Cicadas, Crickets, oh my

Putnam's cicada?

A friend once mentioned how she misses the chorus of birds that use to wake her up back in Vermont. Here in Flagstaff we can hear a raucous jay, a chipper chickadee and maybe a bird song here and there, but sadly no chorus. What would that sound like? But we aren’t without noises.

These days our airwaves are filled with soft clicks from thousands of cicadas. I have been trying to figure out how to describe this sound? As you walk down the street the loudness ebbs as you move past trees but, still, it is a constant noise. Web sites say it sounds like two coins clicking together. As a matter of fact one site claimed that you could entice the cicadas to click by clicking coins together. Like they need enticing, this sound starts in the morning and lasts until dusk (not complaining, just an observation).
Cute cicada, probably Putnam's cicada
Apparently these cicada are Platypedia putnami, Putnam’s cicada. A species of cicada found primarily in the Rocky Mountain region. These cicadas, “wing bangers,” lack the tymbal that creates the vibrating song of other cicadas. Putnam’s cicadas bang their wings together? (I was just watching one and it looked like they were striking the wings together or against the body, but not on the branches)on the branches to create the clicking sound. It’s the males attracting their mates.

Here is the cricket sound I recorded.

If you are wondering why I don’t have a photo of one, so am I. Before I decided to write this post the cicadas were dropping on me and scaring the bejeezus out of me. Now, I can’t find one for the life of me. Figures. If I get a photo soon I will post it. (found at last by my hubby)

Fortunately, the wonderful www is full of cicada lore and photos. Who knew? There are lots of cicada fans out there. Check out these sites for terrific cicada information.
Bug Eric
Cicada Mania
BugGuide with a photo of a Putnam's cicada

For my lullaby, I enjoy the soothing chirp of the crickets. But that is another story.

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