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Posts Tagged ‘spring peeper’

Spring Peeper

Spring Peeper

Spring Peeper

Spring Peeper

Would you guess that this tiny frog makes a huge noise? Once the Wood frogs and Chorus frogs have sung the first verse of the spring song, the Spring Peepers (Pseudacris crucifer) and American Toads (Bufo americanus) take over. I strolled down to our wet spot behind the barn the other evening to make this recording of peeps and trills. The peeps are the song, of course, of the Spring Peepers, while the extended trills are American Toads.

Beautiful, an annual miracle. Near the end of the recording, you can hear a flock of Canada Geese passing overhead. At the beginning and end of the recording are a few notes of birdsong. Seabrooke, with her more attuned ear, informs me that the former is a Song Sparrow, and the latter is a Common Yellowthroat. Thanks to Seabrooke for the photos of Peepers and Toads.

For more on Spring Peepers, follow this link to Seabrooke’s post This ones for my peeps.

For more on American Toads, follow this link to Warts and all.

toad2

American Toad

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frog2

Daylilies don’t attract many pollinators, but once in a while, a little frog will shelter in a daylily bloom. I came across this little critter on Saturday, when I was making the rounds, deadheading finished blooms. It’s a Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer). You can just make out the distinctive X marking on its back that is the source of its scientific name, crucifer: One who bears a cross. It’s tucked into a flower of the daylily Rainbow Eyes.

frog

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At this time of year, country nights are not quiet. The air is filled with music, a cacophony of voices celebrating the renewal of life. I braved the mosquitos to record their song just as darkness was falling. You can hear the Peep! Peep! of the Spring Peepers (Pseudacris crucifer); the short, throbbing trills of the Gray Treefrogs (Hyla versicolor); and the longer, extended trills of American Toads (Bufo americanus). The Adopt-a-Pond website offers excellent information about the amphibians of Ontario and you can listen to recordings of each species’ song. Not all frogs sing at the same time of year. The Wood Frogs are the first voices of spring, and then the Spring Peepers. The Bullfrogs are later, singing into summer.

Over the chorus of frogs is a recording of an American Woodcock (Scolopax minor) performing his mating display. Listen for his call, a nasal Peent! … Peent! … Peent! given from a grassy field. At 1:36, he begins his aerial display. Listen for the whirring of his wings as he flys high into the night sky. Three of his outer primary feathers are modified to produce a whistling flight sound. I could hear him as he continues his flight, but unfortunately the sound doesn’t come through on the recording until about 2:20, when the whistling begins to sputter and he gives a series of chirps as his flight ends in a ‘falling leaf’ descent to the ground. What female could fail to be impressed?

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Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) in hemerocallis "Egyptian Ibis"

Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) in Hemerocallis "Egyptian Ibis"

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peepercloseup

This little Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) was attracted to Birdgirl’s mothing sheet on the warm weekend. It shows the distinctive X marking on its back that makes Peepers easy to identify. You can also see the slightly enlarged sticky toe pads that allow these treefrogs to climb trees and shrubs. They are terrestrial except during breeding season, when they use both temporary and permanent ponds, especially in wooded areas, for mating. After the breeding season, they move to woodlands, shrubby areas and old fields. Peepers survive the winter, when they hide under logs, bark or litter, by producing a glucose “antifreeze” that causes ice to form in extracellular spaces instead of in body cells. Their diet includes small bugs such as spiders, mites, ants beetles and caterpillars.

Spring Peepers are a common species throughout the Great Lakes region. Adults migrate to breeding ponds about the same time as Wood Frogs (Rana sylvatica). The call of the male Peeper is the loud peeping for which they are named. This year at Willow House, the first calls of both Spring Peepers and Wood Frogs were heard on April 3rd.

frog-on-fingers

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