river talk

Springtime serenade

By SCOTT RANDO
Posted 4/7/21

We’ve had some mild days, enough so that several species of reptiles and amphibians have been making appearances. Some of their favorite areas this time of year are small ponds and wetlands. …

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river talk

Springtime serenade

Posted

We’ve had some mild days, enough so that several species of reptiles and amphibians have been making appearances. Some of their favorite areas this time of year are small ponds and wetlands. Check for them on roads that are near wetlands; frogs and salamanders cross the road to reach their breeding grounds in the wetlands (and unfortunately, some get run over). The best time to see this migration is mild, wet evenings in the spring.

Salamanders are silent, but two species of frogs make their voices heard in order to attract females and breed. The wood frog, with its “quacking” call, can be heard for a short time during early April in sheltered wetlands and vernal ponds. The other species of frog is more widespread and calls for a longer period of time. They are in the family of chorus frogs, for that’s what they sound like in numbers. We have all heard these
easy-to-hear but hard-to-see spring peepers.

Spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer) are small frogs, growing to about an inch or so. This makes it easier for them to hide as compared to some of the larger frog species; it may seem that you hear dozens of them nearby, but you can’t see a single one. They are small and are extremely effective at using wetland vegetation for concealment. I’ve had the best luck seeing them when they are on the ground, adjacent to wetlands.

Although the peepers are inconspicuous visually, they are very conspicuous when they sing. A single spring peeper makes a “peep” vocalization about once per second. If you multiply this sound by a thousand or more, they can get pretty loud; this is what can be heard in a good-sized wetland this time of year.

Unlike wood frogs, which call for a week or so before falling silent, spring peepers in this region call all throughout April; isolated individuals can be heard into the beginning of May. Spring peepers herald the start of spring and the awaking of nature, with the promise of warmer days ahead. Take a stroll in the early evening to your favorite wetland and enjoy the serenade.

spring, frogs

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