Thursday, March 18, 2010

You Know It's Spring When....

... you see robins in the yard, of course. But even better, for me, is when the spring peepers start calling. These teeny tiny frogs are chorus frogs and are found all over the Eastern United States and even up into Canada. They live in marshy areas, wherever there's some standing water... ponds, swamps, wet woodlands, pools of standing rainwater... and around the middle of March, they start singing! (Photo here is from Wikipedia.)

I heard them for the first time last Thursday, after we'd had some rain, as I drove to a friend's house in the late afternoon. There's a creek running alongside the road, and if you open your car window, you know they're there! These wonderful little creatures love that wet area and sing to their heart's content... and to mine too! And when I walked the dogs down through the woods towards another creek which runs into the Dan River, I heard the tree frogs again, in all their springtime glory! These little guys are really small... often just under an inch, but they can grow to an inch and a half. Here's a graphic I found on the web that shows their relative size, compared to a paper clip!

Around here, you won't hear them during the day; they, like many frogs, are nocturnal, only coming out to sing when the sky grows dark. At night they also feast on beetles, spiders, flies, and ants. During they day, they stay hidden away from sight and predators. They can climb in trees with their large toe pads, but they usually stay on the damp ground, living in the loose undergrowth. They breed and lay their eggs in the water, and if they're lucky, they can live about three years in the woodland edges. It is only the males that sing, an amorous high-pitched call to the females... and baby, are they loud! I guess that "you know you want me" instinct is really strong! They usually congregate in the hundreds, so it's hard and unusual to hear just one spring peeper; you hear them in a loud chorus song. It's amazing! Take a look at the video to hear them singing!


  1. A friend just posted about these guys over the weekend on FB. He and his two boys were discovering the source of evening music, and researching the true name of the little sound-makers. We don't have those in my city neighborhood, but I can hear them just reading this! We used to roll down the windows crossing thru a certain stretch of highway towards Havelock on our way to our family's heart-home on Harkers Island. The sound of the frogs, as kids, was how we knew we were close... and not long after the air would change to that dusky marshy salt smell that brings me to tears even as I write. I'm due for a trip I think...

  2. I'm waiting for our frog to come--I love him! Her? Don't know, but he-she is loud!

  3. Hi Rebecca!
    Talk about tiny! Amazing you got a shot of them. Frogs are so good at hiding at the best of times. I've heard so much in recent years about declining frog populations worldwide. As with many species I think they are sensitive to minute temperature changes. Frogs are so cool :)

    Spring! Yes, I'm ready. After the time change over the weekend it's lighter later which really makes it feel like spring to me.
    Have a great day!

  4. Thanks for sharing your adorable frogs with us. When I lived on the Texas Gulf Coast in Rockport, little green tree frogs were everywhere. We had wonderful conversations. They are good listeners! A lot of sound comes out of these small bodies! It is a bit dry in Fort Worth so our frogs are more toads with lots of colorful warts and big bellies!