IT’S TIME THE FEMALE RAIN BIRDS OF AJIJIC TAKE THEIR SHARE OF THE BLAME:

     If you read the story of the male Rain Birds—or cicadas—in the May issue of Lakeside Living, you may have gotten the impression that it is the male that makes all the noise and does all the wooing during their mating period. Well, it ain’t necessarily so. It appears that when the females dig themselves out of the dark earth after living underground 13-17 years along with the males, they emerge as randy and ready to get with it as eagerly as their male counterparts. And they aren’t shy about singing their siren song to let the males know they are desirable and needy. Now, think about this. What happens in any species of insect or mammal when you put an accommodating male together with a willing female? The result is old as time. In the case of cicadas, the female will deposit up to 20 or 30 eggs in slits she makes in tree branches with sharp little feelers attached to her head. So prolific is she at laying eggs, she’s been known to deposit as many as 600 eggs in different “nests” on the same branch. When their job is completed, the parents die, exhausted but happy in the knowledge that they’ve accomplished what nature set out for them to do in order to keep their species going. In the meantime, it takes six to eight weeks for the eggs the female left to mature—after which the nymphs drop to the ground and begin digging their way into the underground world, and the cycle starts all over again. The cicada’s long underground nymphal stage of 13-17 years is unmatched within the animal kingdom and is still drawing the interest of scientists all over the world.