Monday, June 7, 2021

A FIREFLY'S UNREQUITED LOVE

 A while back, Rian  at Older but Better...? received what I thought was a cool gift for Mother's day.  So cool, I had to get one of my own which I found at Amazon.  Thanks Rian, I love mine.

Crystal hummers in daylight, blinking change of color at night.

So I put up the little mobile and waited.  Oddly the first day while they were still colorless, I had a few of my local hummers visit to harass the mobile.  Not sure if they were challenging the newcomers or if mating was on their minds. But when they got no response, they just seemed to ignore it. 

We have had a lot of rain lately so it took a while for full sun to charge the little birds' batteries but finally one night, I got to enjoy the show. At first I was mesmerized by the display but then I noticed the rest of the yard was putting on a show. 


Dancing in the shadows were the first fireflies (also known as lightning bugs) I had
seen this season. I was enjoying that show also when I noticed something strange.

On top of the bracket where the solar lights were hanging came a solitary and brief glow. Took a minute when I realized it was a firefly, sending its signal.  Males usually snap off several flashes to declare their specific species while the females remain calm and just respond with one flash.  Presumably a signal to  declare  "here I am and I'm willing."  Kind of the "swipe right" of the insect world.

So there was most likely a female on that post but who was she flashing? Was it the yard full of singles or was she fascinated by that really big firefly at the top of the chain and his blue white flashing light. 

I could not believe it but she kept up her solitary, intermittent flashing for about 20 minutes, then she quit. Being as they are small and it was dark, I have no end to this story. Only a feeling that the poor female did not make a match that night, at least not with the fake hummer and none of the flashing males came close. Sigh.

It dawned on me that the firefly show was the first I had seen in a long time. Sadly humans are contributing to the firefly's decline.  Light pollution, destroyed habitats and harvesting are all leading to the decrease in the number. When their habitat is overtaken, they do not relocate, they just disappear. 

I think most of us can relate to the fun as a child of chasing fireflies.  I hate to think of that as no longer being a childhood thrill. 

Do fireflies still light up your nights?

55 comments :

  1. Still around, but not as prominent as I remember.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. joeh,
      I know, when I saw these it made me realize they are not abundant like they use to be.

      Delete
  2. Suddenly fireflies have returned. I had not seen any in a few years and am loving their flashing lights now. My sister gave me some of those hummingbirds and I love to see them at night.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Annie,
      Good to know it was not just me not seeing them for a while. So glad you have the hummer solar lights too. I really like them.

      Delete
  3. I get a lot of fireflies where I live. I even had one inside the house one night that fell in love with my smoke detector..

    I have one of those solar powered mobiles with stars in place of birds and even after two years I still love it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jean,
      Laughing out loud at your misguided firefly:)
      I saw they had the stars and also butterflies. I am half tempted to get the solar flowers.

      Delete
  4. I was kind of laughing at the tiny insect brains but then I was reminded of the moose who fell in love with Jessica the cow many years ago. The farmer made quite a good cottage industry out of it (selling souvenirs, a book) before the moose finally gave up. I'll bet if you write a book abut the lovelorn firefly people will buy it! Who doesn't love a love story?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Olga,
      I remember that about the moose. That was so funny. Not sure there is that much mileage for fireflies:)

      Delete
  5. That crystal hummer looks very cool, oh man my mom would've absolutely loved that. I loved the story of the lone lightning bug looking for love, but at the same time...I totally forgot about those bugs! I haven't seen any in years, and yes we used to run thru the yard at night with our mayonnaise jars and (tiny) holes poked in the lids... we'd sit them on our windowsill to watch from bed, then Dad would come up & collect those jars, unscrew the lids and set them back outside, haha. I hope they make a comeback in my corner of the world. Patti, thanks for sharing & I hope all is well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Doug,
      I think chasing through the evening trying to catch fireflies was a right of passage for a lot of us. Your Dad handled it just right making sure they were released. My Mom was in charge of that for us. It would be sad if some kids today are not that lucky due to the diminishing amount of them.

      Delete
  6. This post reminds me that I haven't seen a firefly in so many years. I can't even remember the last time I saw one. Now I'm going to do some googling around to see where they still are. Love that crystal hummer!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. robin,
      Sadly they are diminishing. They are harvested for the enzyme luciferase which is part of the reaction that causes the glow even though it can be produced synthetically. Sigh.
      I actually enjoy my hummers more when they is not lit up.

      Delete
  7. Those hummingbirds are beautiful. We don't have fire flies in California, but I have far fewer insects of any kind here than when I moved here in 2006. Not due to more people moving in, so probably climate change.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Inger,
      Well fewer insects can be a good thing but sorry you don't have the fireflies. They are fun to watch as they light up an evening.

      Delete
  8. Cute story. We get them here in Pennsylvania; and I sure remember them growing up in New York. But according to my sister-in-law they don't get them in Massachusetts. Too cold.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tom,
      So glad you are still getting them. I am sure they have areas where they thrive and some where they just don't make. Mass is evidently one of those.

      Delete
  9. I do love your colourful hummingbird mobile, Patti. Fireflies are still flashing here but their numbers have definitely declined. I blame agricultural pesticides. (sigh)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Florence,
      That I am sure is part of it but some is in my comment to robin. I was so surprised to see them here. It has been years. Maybe a comeback?

      Delete
  10. I don't think I have ever seen a firefly in person. It must be dazzling. That mobile you bought is so pretty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. gigi,
      Thank you. I fell in love with it when I saw it on Rian's post.
      They really are fun to watch in the evenings. A small light show.

      Delete
  11. Hi Patti! So glad you are enjoying the hummingbird mobile! I love mine! We were going to hang it in the backyard, but were afraid it would drive the feral cats crazy, so we hung it in the front yard where I can see it from the front window. And as for fireflies/lightning bugs, we seem to have quite a few around these days... and you are right, we hadn't seen them in a while.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rian,
      I am glad you posted about it so I could get one. I really am enjoying mine. I can see where the ferals might be interested. Anything that glitters and moves in the wind would be tempting.
      The rare fireflies seems to be common. Hope they are coming back.

      Delete
  12. Dunno! I'm in bed. But, Ido remember them when a youngster.

    Love the mobile!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anni,
      Ha ha, guess you wouldn't want them in your bedroom. They were fun when we were kids.

      Delete
  13. I think I only saw them once, long ago when visiting someone somewhere. I will check out that mobile, though. It looks perfect.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Djan,
      Think you will like it. It would look good on your porch.

      Delete
  14. We don't see fireflies here - I suspect it gets too cold in the winter. So I've never actually seen one but my heart goes out to the poor frustrated female.

    That mobile is pretty in the daylight and in the dark.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eileen,
      Well she wasn't alone for not trying. I guess cold weather would eliminate them.
      Actually I like the mobile in the daytime best. It catches the sun and twinkles.

      Delete
  15. We saw fireflies in Pennsylvania and other places in the Eastern states,
    We don't have them here in Washington State.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda,
      You and Djan both said they aren't in the PNW. Maybe it is too wet and cool for them there.

      Delete
  16. I love fireflies, but we don't have them here. I'm always excited to see them when I travel elsewhere.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Margaret,
      Sorry you don't have them but aren't they special when you do get to enjoy them. They put on quite a show.

      Delete
    2. Yes, they're magical. But only at night. Otherwise, they are mighty ugly bugs.

      Delete
    3. Margaret,
      Ha ha, that is the truth. They are just a nasty looking beetle without the fireworks.

      Delete
  17. We had so much fun with fireflies in a quart jar. Here in desert california, fireflies do not hang out here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan,
      Aww, so sorry they don't like the desert but glad you got to enjoy them as a child. That is what they are for anyway--to delight kids.

      Delete
  18. Oh I have great memories of chasing fireflies as a kid!!! Thanks for that Patti.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Margaret,
      So glad you enjoyed them too. It was such fun with lots of giggles.

      Delete
  19. We don't have fireflies here, I have never ever seen one. I love the mobile :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. River,
      I guess they aren't everywhere. Lots in this country have never seen them. The mobile is fun---even prettier to me in the day time when the sun makes them sparkle.

      Delete
  20. I haven't seen "lightning bugs", as we called them, since we moved from the Great Lakes state when I was young and I used to delight in catching them. One time I put them in a jar with grass inside, holes punched in the lid so they would have oxygen, to serve as a nightlight bedside. Come morning most were dead. I was devastated. so sorry for them, and lost all the joy I felt catching them the night before.

    That mobile is attractive. I'll have to look into getting one to hang here outside my window where it will get full sun year 'round.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joared,
      So sorry your captured bugs didn't make it. My Mom always made us turn them loose the same night. Think you will enjoy the mobile. It is facinating both day and night.

      Delete
  21. Thanks for reminding me of the wonderful days of my childhood. I was the youngest of 5 girls and we all loved catching fireflies in a big jar ! It doesn't seem possible that it's been over 80 years since we did that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ginnie,
      Yikes, it has been over 75 years for me. That is too long. Pretty sure they would be safe from us today:)

      Delete
  22. No fireflies here in Wsshington sadly but we do have phosporescent sea creatures that shine in the surf here on the coast. I'm sorry to hear fireflies are disappearing. I saw them a couple of time on summer visits to N Dakota. Amazing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Celia,
      I have seen the phosporent sea creatures light up also in Florida during night walks on the beach. It was facinating.

      Delete
  23. Fireflies made evening so much fun. I love the mobile. Have not seen one like it. Good info on the firefly I did not know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Barbara,
      I didn't realize how much I missed them till they came to visit the other night. Hope they don't disappear altogether.

      Delete
  24. I have great memories of fireflies in rural Missouri in the 50's. I see a few this time of year, but nothing like I saw as a child.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Donna,
      I know, there just isn't the amount there once was and in some places, they are no longer around. We sure saw them as kids though didn't we?

      Delete
  25. Not one of them here. Darn it.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Mage,
    So sorry. No one so far has spotted them on the west coast.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Dear Patti, yes, we still have them here in western Missouri, but not as many as just a few years ago. When Elisa and her youngest daughter (who was 7 at the time) came to visit from Idaho, they were amazed . . . and delighted . . . by the fireflies. They'd never before seen them. At first, Elisa thought a fire was starting back in the corner were two fences met. When I told her it was fireflies, she just chortled! Indy tried to capture at least one and did a lovely ballet of leaping and running and turning to do so. At 7, she was the personifciation of joy. Peace.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I miss seeing the fireflies we loved during the Illinois summers. We don't have them here in Hawaii. Your crystal hummers look so pretty.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I have seen a few, but nothing like the hordes we saw when I was a kid in the 40's and 50's.
    Hope your carpal tunnel and back are better now.

    ReplyDelete

Comments moderated. No spam will be published