April Feature: Amphibian Calls Mark Start Of Spring

As winter thaws, the sounds of spring begin. Like birds, all species of frogs and toads have unique calls. The western chorus frog (Pseudacris triseriata) starts to sing when there is still ice on the pond. Its creaky call is likened to the sound that a cheap plastic comb makes when a thumb runs down its tines. The sheer volume of their calls is impressive considering this frog is only an inch long.

The northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens) also vocalizes early in the season and has a subtle call that resembles a soft snore with an occasional chuckle. The leopard frog’s call is quiet enough that it might go completely unnoticed if other frogs are calling.

People fortunate enough to live near a pristine wetland might hear spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer), whose call is a shrill “peep.” Though they are only about an inch long, their call volume gives a different impression.

Late spring sees the start of the American toad’s (Bufo americanus) monotone trill. Summer brings the baritone and bass notes of the green frog (Rana clamitans) and the American bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana). Their resonant calls can be heard from a few hundred yards away.
Learn more about these and other amphibian species on the Frog and Toads page or at Observe Your Preserve.

Every year, Natural Resource Management volunteers listen to frog and toad calls to monitor amphibian populations in ponds and wetlands through DuPage County. Learn more about this program by visiting the Volunteering page.

For more information about District’s volunteer monitoring programs, see the Natural Resource Management Volunteer Program page.

Western chorus frog

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