a video celebration of the 17-year cicada

I’VE CONFESSED MY FASCINATION for the emerging 17-year periodical cicadas already, and that was even before being treated to this trailer for an hour-long documentary by filmmaker and timelapse specialist Samuel Orr. Now do you believe me that the genus name of these creatures who possess the master plan of all master plans—Magicicada–is no accident? Magic! Orr’s film, which is seeking funding on Kickstarter, will be done next year, and is projected to be shown on PBS in 2015. If you missed it: What I know about cicadas (a quick 101).

    1. margaret says:

      As I understand it, the nymphs exist on xylem, the vascular tissue in tree roots and the roots of other plants.

  1. Juliana says:

    Thank you a million times for posting this video. I now live in SD, and last year, I was amazed and thrilled to find so many cicada coming out of the ground around my neighbor’s tree. I had no idea that what happened this year back East looked like this. Amazing…and beautiful…

  2. tiarnan says:

    Due to this phenomenon of the 13 or 17 year appearance of the cicadas – the whole forest goes through a massive regeneration…think about the effect of billions of nymphs re-emerging dozens of times heavier in mass…in other words they are bring up all the nutrients from the deep soil – hundreds of tonnes worth – and bringing it up to the top of the forest floor – enriching the soil and giving an abundance of food to the whole food chain…

    It’s actually said that many forests wouldn’t survive without this phenomenon – makes you wonder how well planned it all is….

    1. margaret says:

      Hi, Tiernan, and yes, indeed. That’s the most interesting part. All part of the master plan!

      Hi, Jamie. I don’t know, but I don’t think literally all birds do — as they would have to be insectivorous and also be able to grapple with an insect that big. Also, since the foodstuff is so rarely available (only every 17 years) it’s not strictly part of any species’ regular diet. More on it here from research into some species that do eat them and how their populations correlate with the cicadas’.

  3. Lisa says:

    Thank you so much for sharing the video Margaret! Truly amazing!
    We had them here on Cape Cod a couple years ago. Creepy but Amazing!

  4. Patricia N. says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this video. I remember this happening when I was younger and look forward to it again. I just shared on my facebook page; I want all my family and friends to enjoy this, too.

  5. Dahlink says:

    That was amazing. Even though we have lived through two cycles, the camera took me to views I never could have seen on my own!

  6. Cindy Krut says:

    Thank you for sharing this video. I remember the wonder I experienced as a child looking at the empty shells that were still attached to the trees. Hearing the mating call in the video gave me goosebumps. I will be 77 when they return again.

  7. Leslie says:

    My son was 2 when we moved to Washington DC and had never heard of Cicadas. They hatched and kept us up at night as the air filled with their bodies and their noise. It would have been creepy and dare I say, freaky!, if the pre-school teachers, neighbors and everyone we came in contact with had not reassured us that the world was just as it should be. It did become a fascination as we crunched on their bodies walking home and talked about the mystery. The thing is….my son is now 28…and no matter how you count, that is not a 17 year cycle. Hmmm….what am I missing?

  8. christine says:

    Fascinating…Margaret, a computer question: the streaming of the video stops for half a minute every few seconds, then resumes (for just another few seconds)…Any idea what’s causing this? Could the fact that I’m in a coffee shop have anything to do with it?

    1. margaret says:

      Hi, Christine. Yes, streaming has nothing to do with my website (because I am not “hosting” the video nor did I create it, the big video service Vimeo.com is for the filmmaker who created it) so it’s about your bandwidth.

      Frani: So glad to hear that! It’s essential that our children share in the awe of nature early in their lives, isn’t it?

  9. Jcb says:

    Truly awesome and beautiful video. Thank you . Am enjoying my copy of Backyard Parables which I got on Saturday before you interesting talk.

    1. margaret says:

      Hi, JCB. Nice to hear you are enjoying the book! Hot Saturday, but I had fun meeting everyone anyhow. Thanks for visiting.

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