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FFHG
06-15-2007, 07:36 PM
I was practicing on the driveway today with Cicadas buzzing in the distance, not too many in my area for whatever reason. As I played especially slow airs, they seem to suddenly surround me, landing on me and my drones. Has anyone else experienced this yet in the Mid West area? I assume they were attracted to the drones but if I played anything fast such as a Strasphey or jig they did not hang around. :roflmao:

Robin Beck
06-15-2007, 08:38 PM
What in the name of Hehaw is a Cicadas? Can you get ivory from them?

dorothy
06-15-2007, 08:48 PM
They're fairly large, noisy insects that live most of their lives underground as nymphs. Then after several years, depending on the species, they emerge to sing loudly to attract a mate. I can vouch that they are rather tasty--somewhat sweet.

Around here, the Dog Day Cicadas (aka "annual") sing so loud in late July and August, you can hardly hear your pipes!

The largest species is the Queen Cicada, found in Southeast Asia. Its song is somewhat reminiscent of a wind-up style alarm clock, and its wingspread is about 8 inches.

Ian Lawther
06-15-2007, 09:34 PM
The year we moved from Maryland to Washington was a year for 17 year periodic cicadas. As Dorothy says these things live for years (in this case 17) underground and emerge to crawl up a twig and transform into a flying insect. I found this five minute film about them on Youtube that David Attenborough would be proud of......

17 year cicadas (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6I3CNnLdnQc)

What I remember was that my kids nursery school did a great job of telling the kids about them and that they were harmless. Consequently the children were happy with them about and I even have film of my girls letting them crawl over their hands (these things are about an inch to two inches long) whereas I saw adults totally freaked out by them.

Ian

Scott Carr
06-15-2007, 10:18 PM
Years ago, my wife and I lived on Okinawa, and I remember on my first day there I took a short walk and was whacked in the temple by an errant cicada...surprisingly painful.

However, my favorite piping story from the island was one summer night when the giant fruit bats were circling over me in great numbers...maybe 20 or so. These are bats with a 3+ foot wingspan, so they were quite impressive as they swooped down to check me out. I guess the pipes were new to them, or perhaps they liked "A Flame of Wrath for Squinting Patrick."

Robin Beck
06-16-2007, 03:04 AM
Loved the movie Ian. 17 years seems a long time fora cycle though?

Troy Jesse
06-16-2007, 07:34 AM
Loved the movie Ian. 17 years seems a long time fora cycle though?

Not at all, in fact different species of cicada have different length cycles. It is interesting to note that many cicada's cycles are prime numbers!! The worst years are those in which more than one species' cycles coincide - NOISY!!!!

Keep in mind that just because a species has a long cycle, not all generations are on the same cycle...

I am most curious as to whether or not the cicadas were in tune!!

galbayman
06-16-2007, 07:55 AM
On summer nights when I was a boy, we would look for street lamp poles where cicadas were emerging from their shells. They come out slowly though a slit down the back of the shell, and are a shiny, iridescent green when they first emerge. It is a beautiful process to watch. They leave behind the dull brown shell, the feet of it still embedded in whatever surface they chose. Some years we could find hundreds of them in an acre. We collected them, or used them to scare other kids or adults - the legs of the shell would stick easily to hair or clothing.

As I remember, their choiring is mostly in tune, and in some years could be exceptionally loud. They crescendo into the note, hold it for several seconds, then decrescendo out of it, repeating again and again.

Brings back some wonderful memories...

TheHourglassSuite
06-16-2007, 08:00 AM
17 years is actually not at all that long. In fact it's quite smart. It throws off their predators.

I can't say they've ever been around while I play though, or at least not right there at my drones.

Troy Jesse
06-16-2007, 08:07 AM
17 years is actually not at all that long. In fact it's quite smart. It throws off their predators.

Kudos!!!

Kenton Adler
06-16-2007, 11:05 AM
Yes, about ten years ago. I was piping in a park in Des Moine Iowa during a particulary busy Cicada year. There were enough of them in the trees that when I drove into the park I could hear them louder than my car stereo. As I played they started flying down from the trees and landing on my shoulders and on the drones. It was eerie, but pretty cool.

K

Charlie Rutan
06-16-2007, 01:38 PM
I saw a sparrow nab and devour a cicaida in mid-flight...thrilling!

FFHG: your pipes are now the object of their devotion.http://www.smileyhut.com/happy/cloud9.gif


I once had the same thing happen (but with duckshttp://www.smileyhut.com/animals/kiwibird.gifhttp://www.smileyhut.com/animals/kiwibird.gifhttp://www.smileyhut.com/animals/kiwibird.gif) as I was piping by a riverbank.

TheHourglassSuite
06-16-2007, 04:11 PM
I saw a sparrow nab and devour a cicaida in mid-flight...thrilling!

FFHG: your pipes are now the object of their devotion.http://www.smileyhut.com/happy/cloud9.gif


I once had the same thing happen (but with duckshttp://www.smileyhut.com/animals/kiwibird.gifhttp://www.smileyhut.com/animals/kiwibird.gifhttp://www.smileyhut.com/animals/kiwibird.gif) as I was piping by a riverbank.


You had ducks flying down and landing on your drones? :poke:

Haha jusst kidding.

I can't say I've heard any this year yet though..Maybe more'll come out further into the summer.

John S. Foley
06-16-2007, 06:27 PM
Darn good thing they are not blackflies, eh?

nmpiper
06-16-2007, 11:23 PM
at the chicago games today there were thousands of them everywhere and I do mean everywhere. While playing my piobaireachd they covered me. All over my neck, under my kilt, all over my hose, on my face and glasses, but the worst was crawling around on my fingers. It was no fun to say the least.

TheHourglassSuite
06-17-2007, 03:55 PM
at the chicago games today there were thousands of them everywhere and I do mean everywhere. While playing my piobaireachd they covered me. All over my neck, under my kilt, all over my hose, on my face and glasses, but the worst was crawling around on my fingers. It was no fun to say the least.

I hope you mean blackflies, and not Cicadas :eek: wiilynilly

I can't stand blackflies..They're the worst to try and play with.

New Hudson Highlander
06-17-2007, 05:43 PM
We lived in the Chicagoland area last time they came out there...really creepy looking, red eyes and all...and can they eat!!!

I once watched one devour the leaf it was sitting on in an amazing display of gluttony.


-NHH

Drums4now
06-18-2007, 07:08 PM
at the chicago games today there were thousands of them everywhere and I do mean everywhere. While playing my piobaireachd they covered me. All over my neck, under my kilt, all over my hose, on my face and glasses, but the worst was crawling around on my fingers. It was no fun to say the least.
Just have somebody crank up a circular saw a few feet away...the flies will flock to that. No taste in music. :roflmao:

reprosser
06-18-2007, 09:13 PM
I am most curious as to whether or not the cicadas were in tune!!

Pretty much in tune, but each cycle their pitch gets a little higher . :wink:

Pari Bailey
06-19-2007, 12:44 AM
We took a reading with the tuner off the ones in the trees next to our band at Chicago--unsteady, but pretty much near 474.

We also spent a large portion of the morning conditioning ourselves for the afternoon competition, putting bugs on faces, arms, lips--anything to get used to the feel, especially since it was announced by our leadership in no uncertain terms that anyone who flinched or acknowledged a bug in any way during the day, and especially in the circle, would be made to eat one.