Monday, 13 August 2012

Dragonflies in the News

If you think birdwatching is a bit on the fringe of what makes the news, then news on dragonflies and other insects is even more rare. Recently the Long Point Basin Land Trust put out a news release detailing the story of how my colleague photographed Purple Martins eating dragonflies, and one of these dragonflies turned out to be a Comet Darner. The story got picked up by many newspapers and even got me an interview on CBC radio! Just goes to show you that there's an appetite for this sort of nature nugget. Just to refresh your memory, one of the photos is below (photo credit Gregor Beck). 

The news release emphasized the novel method of studying dragonflies by watching what the martins brought in, and a lesser extent that the Comet darner is rather uncommon. Well the story ended up getting picked up by a number of newspapers in Southern Ontario, and many tried to put their own slant on things. Many  wanted to emphasize the rarity of the Comet Darner - you would have thought I discovered the first one in Ontario or something, while others even tried to make connections to Global Warming. People wanted to know - what does all this mean? Is it bad that the martins are eating "rare" dragonflies? The short answer was it's not bad or good - it's just cool! We just thought it was a fun story.

Also it's funny how easily it is to get miss-quoted, or have things taken out of context. I was quoted as saying "...the unusually warm spring and summer in the area that has also attracted new species of butterflies to Norfolk, including the rare Red Admiral..." I most certainly did not call Red Admirals rare, and I think the news reporter just mixed a few quotes together by accident. Next time I read some bizarre "quote" in the newspaper I'll keep in mind that it might not be exactly what was said.

Here are a couple newspaper articles that took different slants on the topic.

July19th - The Record - Kitchener Waterloo

July19th - Simcoe Reformer

Shortly after these news releases, someone from CBC radio Calgary called to chat with me a little more about Dragonflies. He was already doing a story on dragonflies, and must have stumbled across my name after reading one of the newspaper articles. Anyways, we had a nice little interview over the phone and he ended up using some of it in a nice little piece on dragonflies. Kind of funny to hear my "radio voice". I had hoped to post the audio file on here, but it seems like adding audio to this blog is a bit of pain in the but so you are going to have to take my word for it!

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