They were one of the first sounds from nature that I learned to identify. Those, the “cheer-up” of a robin and the whistle of a cardinal.
They are the sounds I listen for after a long winter.
They are…spring peepers!
Do you know what spring peepers are? I was sitting around a campfire Saturday night and the discussion turned to peepers. Most didn’t seem to know that tiny male frogs, singing their throats out, make all the noise in an effort to impress their lady loves.
These little brown members of the tree frog family, like many other amphibians, spend winters tucked down deep in muddy pond banks or in leaves under logs. Peepers hibernate in a semi-frozen state, waiting for the ice to leave the waterways. As soon as possible in the spring, the males begin looking for mates. They sing their one-note songs loudly, strongly, sometimes singly and often in large groups –in fact, they are also called “chorus frogs”. Females choose mates based on the speed and strength of the song.
And how do they sing? The little frogs have vocal sacs on their throats –loose skin that they can fill with air. When the air is released, the “peep” is made…sort of like letting the air out of a balloon.
It’s hard to find a spring peeper. They are tree frogs, but they aren’t usually in trees. They are tiny, maybe an inch or so long. They are nocturnal –and the spots they can be found are wet and cold. Any little movement frightens them. Try walking close to the edge of a pond some early spring night. All that noise suddenly STOPS!! Move away, and gradually the noise begins again.
I’m glad I know what makes the noise. I don’t care about catching one – I like to lie in my bed at night, with the windows finally open again, and listen to the springtime chorus.
I remember my dad telling me that spring would be here for good when the peepers had “frozen up” three times. On cold nights –and there will still be some—the little frogs don’t sing. It’s still early in the year, but tonight…tonight there’s a chorus.
Want to know more? There’s good information HERE in an article from the Elmira (NY) Star-Gazette.
This post is shared with Simple Life Sunday blog hop.