waiting for peeps

Given the current weather conditions, it could happen any day now. Soon, the shrill “peeeeep” of Spring Peepers (Pseudacris crucifer) will fill the air here at the farm. Some evenings, the calling will become so intense that, to my ears, it seems more like the ringing of high-pitched bells. It’s a sound that brings back childhood memories of weekends spent at my family’s cottage along the Ottawa River. As we neared our place, we passed a large wetland where the sound of Peepers was almost deafening on our first few trips each season.

The great chorus of peeping is generated by male Spring Peepers which are approximately 2 to 3 cm. in body length — in other words, quite a sound from such a tiny creature. Peepers are seldom seen due to their small size and subtle gray to tan colouring which easily blends with vegetation. An X-shaped marking will be found on the frog’s back as in the photo to the left (click on image to see a larger view).

A chorus usually begins with a few short peeps, but soon escalates into more and longer peeps as the first caller is joined by others. In certain locations, the calling may be so intense that it can easily be heard from a moving vehicle. I’ve made a short MPEG audio clip of a (predominantly) Peeper chorus, edited from some video that I shot near Ottawa in habitat which has since been mostly destroyed by new housing. This is my first experiment with posting an audio file on my blog, so I don’t know how well it will work. Presumably, you’ll need some kind of .MPEG player to hear the clip. Hope it works for at least some of you!

For further information on Spring Peepers, or other species of frogs and toads, or to learn about recording and reporting frog activity in Canada, visit NatureWatch and click on the link for FrogWatch.

Tags: , , ,

  • Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
  • Trackback URI:
  • Comments RSS 2.0

10 Responses to “waiting for peeps”

  1. Wayne Says:

    Over the last few years we’ve been accumulating spring peepers – starting with one lone guy three years ago. Now the woods around the house are full of them. They started calling a few weeks ago, along with the cricket frogs. I love sitting out and listening to them.

  2. burning silo Says:

    Wayne – It was much the same around our place when we first moved here many years ago. Over time, the number of Peepers gradually increased along with Wood frogs, Gray Treefrogs, and assorted others that hang out in the pond in the garden. It’s so nice to hear the various calls throughout the season. Also seems like a tangible sign validating some of the habitat improvement that has taken place around the farm over the years.

  3. Randa Says:

    The Spring Peepers in the bog beside our house is music to my ears. It lulls me to sleep at night.

  4. burning silo Says:

    Randa – I heard the first Peepers here yesterday afternoon. Just a few tentative peeps. I don’t think it will be that long until we begin hearing the clacking of Wood frogs among the willows and cattails in the old drainage ditch behind the barn. Nice to hear all of these frog calls as they confirm that spring is here.

  5. dread pirate roberts Says:

    your recording worked quite well for me. nice frog pics. our tree frog chorus started about a week ago.

  6. burning silo Says:

    dpr – glad the recording worked for somebody! interesting about the chorus frogs just having started to call. i would have thought that they would be way ahead of the frogs around here due to climate difference. the snow is just in the last stages of melting away here, and the frogs will be calling fairly soon.

  7. Randa Says:

    Bev, I heard the Peepers last night when I got home. I was in heaven. Winter is gone! I also heard the call of the Chorus Frogs — the sound like running your finger down a comb.

    I got home late last night due to a curling game. Stepping out of the car to the music of frog calls, and to the brilliant star-filled sky — there’s nothing like living in the country. What a soothing homecoming :)

  8. Pamela Says:

    First spring peepers of the year in Thomasburg were heard last night (Sunday). Spring, the noisy season!

  9. Aydin Says:

    There is a little land snail in front of the frog’s head in the 1st photo. It looks like a Strobilops sp.

  10. burning silo Says:

    Aydin – when I shot that photo, I never saw the land snail until I got home and put the photo up on my monitor. It must have been very tiny as the little frog was probably no larger than my thumbnail.