Chris was the first to hear the chorus frogs singing this week, causing great excitement around here. Today, he caught some the show just off Wood Duck Way.
The chorus has begun! Last Monday, I heard a distinctive and familiar noise from the wetlands across the creek. It was an animal making a high pitched trill that sounded like “prrreeep!”—and there were lots of these “prrreeps!” I was excited to know that this was the call of the chorus frogs!
Chorus frogs are some of the first frogs you’ll hear in spring, along with spring peepers (who make a “peep” sound just like their name) and leopard frogs (who make a rough, bumpy croak). Chorus frogs and other frogs call by passing air through their throats to vocal sacs, which puff up and make their sounds much louder to be heard over long distances. Male frogs make their calls when they are ready to begin breeding so that they can use it to attract female mates who hear them.
Although they are very loud, chorus frogs are often difficult to spot. They like to be in still, shallow water, just like the wetlands at the Nature Center, hiding among tall grasses, reeds and sticks around the water’s edge. They’re also very wary of any animals and people or cars that may be nearby, and will stop their call if they feel they are in danger. But if you wait patiently near the water, they will again start calling and you may even see a frog or two appear in the water.
As the weather continues to warm in the next couple of months, listen for other frog calls around your house, at the Nature Center and in parks or nearby ponds—some frogs can even be found in ditches along roadsides and retention ponds near parking lots after heavy rains. See if you can match the calls of other frogs soon to be calling like cricket frogs, bullfrogs, leopard frogs and gray tree frogs—you can use the website below to look for frogs that are found (and heard) in Iowa. And if you hear a chorus of “prrreeeps” one day, you’ll already know whose call it is!
Learn about frogs in Iowa at http://www.herpnet.net/Iowa-Herpetology/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=84&Itemid=48