Spring Peepers

One of the nicest things about Spring time at the camp, is the sound of the “Spring Peepers” chirping and singing as their breeding season begins in the small wetland area behind the camp.

The Sound Of Spring

The sound of the little frogs is indicative of Spring and for me, synonomous with turning the corner from winter to Spring.

There is nothing nicer than to sit on the back step of the camp in the evening and listen to the litle frogs start their nightly chorus.

Mostly peeps, some long, some short, with an occasional low croak thrown in occasionally for good measure, it’s the kind of sound that is easy to listen to as you drift off to sleep, tired from a day of outdoor activities.

I often open our bedroom window a crack at night, just to be able to hear the little fellars.

"tree frog spring peeper"

Northern Spring Peepers can be found all over the eastern United States and the eastern Canada. They are actually tiny frogs, less than an 1 inch (25 mm) to 1.5 inches (38 mm) that weigh between 0.11 ounces (3.1 g) and 0.18 ounces (5.1 g).

Peepers are usually tan or dark brown in color with a marking on their back that is roughly the shape of an “X”

Tree Frogs

Some folks refer to them as ‘tree frogs’ because they have large toe pads for climbing, although it appears that they prefer to spend their time in the swamp and hopping around in the debris on the forest floor.

I have watched them swimming around in murky water of the bog and wondered how such a small critter can make such a big sound.

I cannot tell you how many evenings I have prowled around in the swamp trying to get a glimpse, or better yet, a picture of these marvellous little creatures. Unfortunately, it is easier said than done.

First of all it’s dark and scary in the swamp and wet…very wet…and did I say scary? Lord only knows what other creature is prowling around in there too, a thought that usually crosses my mind after I am knee deep in the bog.

Spring Mating Call

The peeps we hear are made by the males, looking for a mate. No surprises there. The more frogs there are, the more agressively they call.

While they seem to call more often as night falls, they do call all day here behind the camp, although not as often, or for as long.

Evening is their favorite time to breed, so naturally things heat up a bit as darkness falls. I suppose if I looked like a frog Wendy would want the lights out too….

Spring Peepers are estimated to live about 3 years in the wild. That means the same ones that entertained me last year, might still be out there entertaining me again this year. I like that, it’s like having a bunch of little buddies in the swamp.

While Spring Peepers are not considered endangered, they, like so many other woodland creatures are under increasing pressure to survive as their wetlands get filled in for suburbia and as dry weather conditions lessen the amount of water in the swamps, bogs and wetlands where they live.

Yet another reason why it is so important to keep our wild areas wild and be extremely careful working around watercourses, swamps and wetlands.

So, because I love ya, I pushed the thoughts of swamp monsters and alligators to the back of my mind, gathered up my courage and headed off into the swamp tonight, camera in hand, in order to bring the sounds of the Spring Peepers to you.

Yup, that’s the kind of guy I am…

I tried to get Wendy to do it instead of me, but she graciously declined…said she was busy.

Unfortunately it was too dark for video, but I did get some pretty good audio which I captured on video.

The deep breathing you hear on the audio could be me running or a panther sneaking up on me, I didn’t hang around to find out.

Shut off the lights, close your eyes, and have a listen:

Spring Peeper Photo: Wilkipedia Creative Commons Licence

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