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Lightning Bugs and Owls

So last night we were standing out front. I was teasing Husband because normally I go out back. There are plants back there that need tending and talking to. I tend the front too, but a lot less often and not in the evenings. We were just standing on the driveway chatting and this little lump flew up from the ground and onto our roof and then into the nearby tree. There were a few robins heckling it. It seemed rather fat for a dove.

A few seconds later the little fat dove dove for a tree across the driveway. The robins were in hot pursuit! When it landed on an open branch it was pretty obvious it was a little owlet. Oh my gosh. You haven’t seen cute until you’ve seen a little baby owl! This thing was just gorgeous with giant orange eyes. It had little tufts too. As I moved around to get a better view, I spotted ANOTHER baby owl on a different branch! FABULOUS. With a little more looking and a couple of hops, we found a third! I think it’s unusual for owl parents to have three owlets! No sign of the parents either. We watched them until they flew off. Cutest things ever.

Of course, we went out to look for them at dusk tonight. No luck. Not a single fat bird to be found. BUT. Lightning bugs!!! I haven’t seen a lightning bug in Texas EVER and I’ve lived here for twenty-six or so years! I haven’t seen a lightning bug since I was a teenager! And there they were, whispering across the front lawn, blinking. FABULOUS. What a treat. I told Husband that it paid to leave the one area in the front wild (it’s a bunch of trees, and we let just about anything grow between those trees. Sometimes I throw wildflower seeds in there. The neighbors probably think it’s a mess, but I love that tangled area. I once found a five dollar bill in there too!)

So tonight we stood and watched fairies. I mean, fireflies. What a treat.

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Posted: June 29, 2017
Filed in Texas, Walks in Life


  1. Oh, do I miss fireflies. When I took GS up north several years ago (I think he was about 10), I asked my Dad if they still got fireflies. He said yes and I sent GS out back to see them. He was totally fascinated.

    All we get here are love bugs and mosquitoes.

    Comment by Margaret Lake — June 29, 2017 @ 12:02 pm

  2. They are soooooooo magical.

    I’ve been doing some research and I might not have been far off in thinking the wild area helps attract them. I planted a lot more flowers this year as well:

    During the day, nocturnal adult fireflies hide in the grass and low-profile plants. A nice variety of shrubs, high grass and low-growing plants will provide shelter.

    Give them what they like

    Fireflies like moist areas, especially wet meadows, forest edges, farm fields, and wild bog, marsh, stream and lake edges.

    Plant flowers

    Comment by Maria — June 29, 2017 @ 2:00 pm

  3. Also, if you google it, there are fireflies in Florida (not sure of your area). But you might read up on them and how to attract them. It sounds like a manicured lawn isn’t the best way to attract them (no one would mistake our lawn for being manicured!) We let the grass grow quite long in the back because I grow wildflowers back there and I want them to go to seed. There’s a long period in the spring where Husband is not allowed to mow most of the backyard. I’m sure that bothers him a lot…

    Comment by Maria — June 29, 2017 @ 2:23 pm

  4. You’ll have to keep your camera ready for the owlets just in case. Colleen loves owls. We see and hear an adult owl now and then but no babies.

    Comment by Leo — June 29, 2017 @ 4:50 pm

  5. They were completely quiet. Not a peep out of any of them. Not flying completely professionally yet either, but fully feathered. It was dusk so there was no chance of a picture. We will look for them again and I’ll have my camera, but I don’t have a very good one. I doubt they will turn out, but you never know!

    Comment by Maria — June 29, 2017 @ 5:26 pm

  6. Hey Maria! See lightning bugs since I was a kid. In Georgia, we say hummingbird nests, one big owl. Could hear him at night. We knew what tree by the guts from his stomach!. Also had covey of quails in our yard. Following mom as usual. Had a huge snake laid out in my yard. Was picking pine cones when I saw him. I screamed, he screamed, we all screamed!
    Can’t say I have ever seen little owlets before🐍

    Comment by Heather — June 29, 2017 @ 7:40 pm

  7. Oh, I see that snake you posted in your comment! Clever! We have snakes and see them now and then. Leo likes to bring them inside. NO, LEO. Yes, I have heard about owls and their habit of upchucking the parts they don’t want. We have not seen any big owls. I know they migrate through here and apparently there is a family in the area. It’s about time for me to go look for them in the trees again. Maybe we will at least see more lightning bugs!

    Comment by Maria — June 29, 2017 @ 8:38 pm

  8. Here’s an interesting article about fireflies in central FL. Looks like we have more species of fireflies than any other state, but they are not the right kind.

    Comment by Margaret Lake — June 30, 2017 @ 6:10 pm

  9. I do NOT have anything to do with snakes. I’m smart enough to know that EVERY snake is venomous and to be avoided at all costs. Nope, not me.

    Comment by Anonymous — June 30, 2017 @ 11:10 pm

  10. Love owls, and your story!

    When my daughter was very young and bedtime stories were still a big thing one of our favorite books was Owl Moon, by Jane Yolen and illustrated by John Schoenherr. (I believe Mr. Schoenherr based the illustrations on his farm in the next county over from us.) We also had the audio cassette for car trips.

    A few years later, when she was 5 or 6, the whole family was having dinner on the back deck. Our back “yard” is heavily wooded and we see plenty of wildlife. As it was getting dark she looked at me to say something and looked over my shoulder. “Is that an owl?” she asked.

    I turned around and it wasn’t just one owl — it was actually a family of owls lined up on the limb of a maple tree, about 15 feet behind me. There were four juvenile screech owls and one adult — I imagine they’d just left their nest. Screech owls are pretty small, but the juveniles were already about two thirds the size of the adult. And, like your experience, it was too dark to photograph them.

    We have plenty of owls around here, but we rarely see them!

    Comment by Kevin — June 30, 2017 @ 11:40 pm

  11. Oh, how wonderful she was able to see them! And yes, the whole being out at night makes it difficult to get a photograph so when we do see them, we just enjoy it! There is one (at least) that is in the woods near us, but I think it over winters here. We haven’t seen it since it warmed up. It’s possible I could get a picture of it someday, but I’m usually looking down to watch where I put my feet, rather than up! We’ve accidentally startled it into flight a few times as we pass through.

    Comment by Maria — July 1, 2017 @ 7:12 am

  12. There were lightening bugs in WNY when I was a kid, but there are many more here in Georgia. I do have an owl who often calls at night, but I have never see it. Lots of snakes, who fort I never see unless they have had an unfortunate incident in the street. Wildlife is grand.

    Comment by Elisabeth — July 2, 2017 @ 6:36 am

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