Firefly Reports from Alabama
Selected by Donald Ray Burger
Attorney at Law

To submit your own report email burger@burger.com
Please include your city/town and state, and the date of your sighting. Include as many details as you can, such as numbers of fireflies, location (rural/city/wooded area, etc), temperature, time, and so on. Thanks for helping with this project.

Below are reports from Alabama, listed in date order, alphabetically by city.

Bessemer:

July 25, 2001: Anna advises: My name is Anna and I'm from Bessemer, Alabama (near Birmingham). I began to notice a decline in fireflies a couple of years ago in this area, and this year I've only seen a total of three. I am very concerned. I have a daughter who will be one year this August and I'm afraid that she will grow up thinking they are fictional, like fairies or trolls! I have thought maybe it was because of all the trees being cut? I know we used to have a lot of Pines and several kinds of hardwoods around my home. Now we have hardly any because of an F-5 tornado that came through here in March, 1998, and because they've cut a lot of trees to build new homes and stores. If they eat other beetles, maybe it's a lack of pine beetles or something? Thanks and Good Luck.

Birmingham:

April 7, 2008: A reader reports from Birmingham, Alabama: I am already seeing fireflies. I saw them as early as 3/28/2008. Isn't that unusually early?
May 23, 2003: Peggy Milam writes: We are seeing more fireflies this year in our Crestwood neighborhood at Birmingham, Alabama. I believe it may be because the milkweeds have been allowed to grow in a couple of lots in our neighborhood. I counted only about 15 tonight in a 200 foot area but I''m glad to show those to our 3 year old. Over the last 5 years, I'd say this is the strongest they've been.
June 8, 1999: A reader reports: Last night we were at a rest area along Interstate 65, 40 miles south of Birmingham, Alabama. It was about 7:30 pm when we noticed a multitude of fireflies in dance. The weather was warm and clear. There was a lot of trees and shrubs along the walkways and also around the picnic tables. As we were eating, the fireflies would come up to us and fly around as if to say "watch us dance". The flies had both yellow and green lights. The overhead lamps had not come on so the only light came from the dusk. It was truly a beautiful sight.
Late May, 1999: A reader writes: We recently moved from Houston to Birmingham, Alabama and one evening in late May, I noticed fireflies rising from the grass near a shallow ravine just behind my patio. There were not many of them, just a burst of light here and there. The ravine is thick with trees and underbrush. I have not ventured out to other neighborhoods in the evening, so I don't know if the fireflies are widespread. I'm content to have a glass of wine and watch my very own "personal" display into the night.

Citronelle:

May 11, 2005: A reader writes: Last night we observed "hundreds" of very young fireflies. This was very exciting for both of my older children. Description of land, location and time of day/ night: wooded area, dry sandy soil, wild honeysuckles nearby-interesting, dusk dark, located on Mobile/ Washington County Line in Citronelle, Alabama. If my family can be of any further assistance to you in your tracking or observing fireflies in our area, please let us know. Good luck with your endeavors.

Tennessee Valley - Quad Cities area:

June 7, 2005: A reader writes: I haven't seen any fireflies in my Northwest Florida Panhandle yard in a few years. This past weekend I went home to the Tennessee Valley - Quad Cities area of northwest Alabama , and saw dozens of fireflies each night at my father's house, near where I saw them when growing up. On the last night, I secured a gallon jug, complete with air holes punched in metal cap and captured by hand (only) at least 16 (maybe two dozen) fireflies. I let them "overnight" in the garage outside. The next morning, a couple of them looked dead and like they were on their backs. Nevertheless, I decided to take them home (in the floorboard of the car - not the hot trunk!). After a five hour drive home, I immediately 'dumped' them in a back corner of our acre lot near some trees/shrubs just outside our butterfly/hummingbird garden. They all seemed alive, and a couple took flight. I don't know what I expected but I have been more than rewarded thus far. That first night, near dusk, I watched where I had 'dumped' them, and lo and behold, flickers appeared and I counted at least a dozen separate fireflies. They had stayed in the area, dormant I presume in the afternoon, and now began their area tours. They fanned out across my backyard, eventually over my house and six foot fence into neighborhood yards and highways. After about 45 minutes, there was not a single flicker left in my yard. I supposed that was the end of it, and hoped they would live and survive in our neighborhood, despite bats, frogs, and windshields of vehicles! But, nevertheless, the second night at dusk, I again stood vigil. Sure enough, as I watched several fireflies gradually lit up (maybe 8 - 10 separate ones) and again scouted out my back yard and soon were out on the neighborhood, with not a flicker remaining in my back yard after about 45 minutes. Tonight is the third night and I just came in, and there were at least 6-7 fireflies who had returned "home" to the back corner of my lot last night. I will keep watching each night and see how many return each day. I hope that they have had time to lay eggs for larva for next year. Now, I suppose everyone would have told me that I am crazy to try this experiment, and no one is more surprised than me that it has lasted three nights so far. It has been very entertaining and I hope to 're-introduce' fireflies to my yard and neighborhood. I obviously can't say "it worked" yet, nor further that it might work for you, but I have had a ton of fun (like I was a little kid again) welcoming my friends back home each night at dusk, and bidding them safe voyage as they head out exploring my neighborhood. It has already been well worth the trouble and time it took to arrange the experiment.

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