Posts Tagged ‘wood frog’


Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica)

Wonderful though it is to hear the voices of the returning migrant birds, the Song of Spring is not sung by birds. Rather, it is sung in trills and peeps and quacks by thousands of tiny frogs as they awaken from a long winter and seek to renew life itself.

I heard the first frog music a week ago, on the evening of Tuesday, April 15, after a lovely mild day. Since then, we’ve had some cooler days, even a dusting of snow, but the frog chorus is growing more persistent, more insistent.

Yesterday, I recorded a homophony of Western Chorus frogs and Wood frogs when I stopped by a wetland on my way home. Listen here:

The trilly voices are the chorus frogs, while the clacky, quacky voices are the wood frogs. It’s hard to believe that such tiny beings create such a clamorous outpouring. Chorus frogs range from about .75 to 1.5 inches long, while wood frogs are a bit larger, 1.4 to 3.3 inches in length.

Thanks to Seabrooke for the use of these two photographs of the tiny singers, which she took last Tuesday night.


Western Chorus Frog (Pseudacris t. triseriata)

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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.


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