Mar 27 2015
Have you heard any frogs lately?
In early spring male frogs call from ephemeral pools to attract females to mate with them. This week in Frick Park I’ve heard spring peepers calling in the wetland next to Nine Mile Run. The sound is so miraculous in the City(*) that I always stop to absorb it.
Spring peepers are loud but so tiny I couldn’t find them. Look how small they are compared to someone’s hand! Needless to say I didn’t see the “singers” in Frick Park.
Peepers aren’t the only ones calling. Right now you can hear wood frogs and others if you’re in the right habitat. But which ones?
PA Herps does statewide surveys to confirm the ranges of Pennsylvania’s native frogs (and much more). Based on the PA Herps Frogs and Toads List I made this table of the frogs and toads that still occur in western Pennsylvania west of the Allegheny Front. I added my own description of the calls I know. Click here on the PA Herps website to look up each frog including their photos and range map.
|Frog Name||Description of Call|
|Eastern American Toad, Anaxyrus americanus||a whirring trill|
|Fowler’s Toad, Anaxyrus fowleri|
|Cope’s Gray Treefrog, Hyla chrysoscelis|
|Eastern Gray Treefrog, Hyla versicolor|
|Bullfrog, Lithobates catesbeianus||a low ‘hrrrrmp’|
|Green Frog, Lithobates clamitans||a tuneless banjo twang|
|Pickerel Frog, Lithobates palustris|
|Northern Leopard Frog, Lithobates pipiens|
|Wood Frog, Lithobates sylvaticus||sounds like ducks quacking|
|Mountain Chorus Frog, Pseudacris brachyphona|
|Northern Spring Peeper, Pseudacris crucifer||LOUD! jingle bells -or- plinking the teeth of a comb|
|Western Chorus Frog, Pseudacris triseriata|
|Eastern Spadefoot, Scaphoipus holbrookii|
** See the comments for frog call descriptions from Sue.
To hear them, look them up here on the USGS Frog Quiz website. (Your computer must have QuickTime installed.)
If you know a lot of frog calls you can test your skills at the USGS Frog Quiz here. Don’t feel bad if you don’t recognize the calls. I tried the quiz and flunked immediately. As you can see by the gaps in my table, I don’t know many frog sounds. It’s time to get outdoors and remedy that!
AAAACKKK! The USGS Frog Calls website became temporarily unavailable this morning just as I was publishing their links! I am leaving the links in place, hoping they will turn it back on by the time you see this article. Meanwhile, here’s the sound of spring peepers.
Can you add frog call descriptions to my table? Leave a comment with your description. ** Thank you, Sue! See her comments.
* The miracle in Frick Park is a complex of meanders and wetlands completed in 2006 by the Nine Mile Run Watershed Association and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Spring peepers found the wetlands on their own and now loudly pronounce them good for breeding every spring.