Earth Matters by Jacqueline Milner – Fireflies, Grackles, and Trees – June 13, 2011

CFN – If you haven’t noticed already, the fireflies are back.  Yipee!  The name “firefly” is misleading as the firefly is in fact a beetle that flies.  We are very fortunate to live in a part of the world that is not overtaken by urban sprawl which hinders the life cycle and habitats of the firefly.


According to information at the firefly has disappeared from habitats such as gardens in Tennessee to river-banks outside of Bangkok.  Researchers from Europe to the United States believe urban sprawl and industrial pollution have destroyed vital habitat for this species and light trespass is considered to interfere with the reproduction behaviour of this species.  A researcher of the firefly in Switzerland noted how in his discussions with senior citizens they talked of the great numbers of fireflies they saw when younger; they are now lucky to see one.


So if you live in an area where you have access to open grassy fields, forest or wetland areas without light trespass, chances are you will be able to take advantage of the wondrous light show of the fireflies.  The area which allows our household to view this nightly light display is close to a significant wetland area in an open grassy field.  Fireflies bring out the inner child in all of us.  One cannot help but smile with glee when overlooking an immense grassy field and finding ones self surrounded with little glowing balls of light.  It delights the imagination.  This is an experience which all the members of the family will surely enjoy.

Went outside Sunday morning to do some pruning of some bushes on the property and calls of panic were coming from a bird in one of the trees.  There was a fledgling Common Grackle in the Nan King Cherry bush that my cat Bit had her eye on and one of the adult birds was obviously concerned.  The young bird was noticeably not adept to flying as of yet so I firstly rounded up Bit from under the bush and escorted her into the house to allow the young bird some safe space in becoming accustomed to a body that it was obviously still not used to maneuvering.


This action put the adult bird in the tree across the yard at peace.  This fledgling bird was about the size of a full grown red winged black bird.  Certainly not the most handsome bird (as noted below) however his/her demeanor was regal and self assured.  Notice the incredible strength and stature of those legs and feet.
For all our Kingston Readers and those of you familiar with the magnificent trees of Kingston, Ontario, CKWS has launched a “Majestic Tree Hunt” contest on the 6 p.m. news.  The station runs a photograph of a different tree each night from now until June 17th.  You can view a photo of each tree on the CKWS website If you can identify the tree featured along with its location, fill out the necessary form on the website to be eligible to win $100.00 cash plus a gift certificate to a Kingston area nursery.  You may enter once per day.  Each correct entry per day gives you a chance to win the prize.


Earth Matters encourages our valued readers to support and encourage your local food producers.  Consider the nutritional and economic benefits when your food is coming from field to fork.


Your commentary is always appreciated and encouraged below or to earthmatters@cornwallfreenews.

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  1. I really appreciate the comment about light trespass and urban sprawl. I remember growing up in Ottawa and seeing the smaller variety of firefly. It was one of the reasons that we moved to a rural area so that my daughter could see such a sight since it practically doesn’t exist in Ottawa now. Makes us think about the cost of all the internal combustion vehicles. It also makes me wonder if this trend toward 4 wheeling and all terrain riding is not killing the phenomenon.

  2. When I lived in Hershey PA the fireflies used to rise out of the grass in the field behind our property like a sparkling blanket. We could watch them at dusk lighting up the back yard and slowly rise into the tree tops. We were only there for three Junes to see but it has left an everlasting impression in my memory. I remember one night when my old cat had a firefly stuck in her fur down by her tail and she ran all over the house trying to shack it out. We laughed until we cried.

  3. Author

    Geez and I thought I was just ripped while out walking the do last night and seeing sparks coming out of the grass….. 🙂

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