14
Mar
06

Frogs at Camp- March 12 2006

Weather

Sunny in the low 60s F.

Western Chorus Frog

It’s 5:30pm which means it’s time for supper to be served at camp.  I take Massasauga Trail which leads me by the vernal pond that I had checked just 4 days prior for any signs of salamanders.  Now, just barely audible over the rhyming calls of red wing blackbird’s “cleeear cleeear” and the killdeer’s “kill deer”, I hear my first western chorus frog of the season.  The western chorus frog’s call sounds like someone is slowly pulling their finger across a stiff comb.  Like the call of all frogs & toads, these are mating calls made by the males to attract a female and also to warn other males to stay out of their territory.  Western chorus frogs are only about the size of a thumbnail but can call at tremendous volumes.  In a few weeks this vernal pond will be engulfed by this deafening chorus.

Frog Resources

Reptiles and Amphibians of Michigan Field Guide” by Stan Tekiela with accompanying frog/toads cd is a wonderful place to start it you want to learn frog calls.  One nice aspect of this book is that it only contains frogs that you are going to encounter in your state, which is a great help when you’re starting out.  It can be overwhelming searching through field guides which contain hundreds of species many of which don’t even occur in your area.  So I highly recommend this concise guide. 

Another free source of frog calls is National Wildlife Federation’s Frog Watch USA homepage: www.nwf.org/frogwatchUSA . Here you can find the frogs in your area and listen to their calls.   

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