Heck yeah: Peepers, peepers.

Rain + warmth = Pseudacris crucifer. The spring peeper.

Spring? Seriously? Appearing for one night only at a backyard pond in Tennessee. Tomorrow: the freeze returns.

2015-03-04 peepers hawkins lane 011

2015-03-04 peepers hawkins lane 007They are calling at an ear-ringing 85+ decibels. These frogs are so loud that birds have to adjust their songs near chorusing peepers. So crank this one to 11:

peeperspectroZoom in on the spectrogram (below) and we can see two call types: short upward sweeps and longer trilling sweeps. The short, untrilled sounds are the males calling to females; the zipped calls are aggressive signals to other males. Zip-a-dee-doo-dah. You can clearly hear each call type on the recording, minus Armstrong’s horn.

peeperspectro2Bonus: how many peppers can you spot in the photo below?

2015-03-04 peepers hawkins lane 001

21 thoughts on “Heck yeah: Peepers, peepers.

  1. Linda

    Wonderful! I’m jealous. Not too much spring here in Helena, Montana. But I see the weatherman predicts 60 next week for 10 minutes.

  2. Mollie

    I’m seriously envious; the vernal pool downhill from our home (hill towns of western Massachusetts) is still under several feet of snow. Spring is delayed in New England!

    1. David George Haskell Post author

      We’ve been under snow and ice (not as much as you) until this week, then BAM!, the salamanders and frogs came out in the thaw, only to have to retreat again for the rest of the week. When spring finally comes, it will feel mighty good. Hang in there!

  3. Stephen Truslow

    My brothers and I own a house near Albany, NY that has passed down through the family for generations and we have a wetlands/pond that every spring comes alive with the sound of peepers. My grandmother had a movable bird blind built which we used to put down by the water’s edge so that she could sit there and listen to the birds. My wife and i went down there once to listen to the peepers up close and the decibel level felt much higher than 85. We had to leave after a short stay. The leaves usually don’t come out until the end of April but the peepers are crocking away earlier signaling the arrival of spring. Such a wonderful sign of renewal.

  4. Homesteader

    I counted five, but I’m betting there are more. Temperatures will finally break into the forties here next week in north-central Wisconsin, and can the peepers be far behind? (Though in our own ponds the Eastern Chorus Frogs usually beat them by a day or two.)

  5. Maureen Donohue

    We had peepers in North Georgia, Clarkesville, too, on Monday, Mar.2 too in a creek as we worked on invasive species removal. Nice music for sawing and digging.

  6. Donna Black

    For years I ran at night in central GA, and I noticed that every year in late Feb the peepers and their relations would start singing to the top of their lungs, regardless of the weather. They seems to be nonplussed even by very cold temps once the courting starts. It has always amazed me that they could tolerate such low temps.

  7. John F. Kiser

    Prof. Hasklell – In small shallow pond in our woods-yard at 3000 feet,Tate Mountain, North Pickens County Ga., in January thaw we get Wood Frogs, Rana sylvatica, croaking somewhat like Cranes.They beat the regular spring peepers which come later and down near lake and springs,200 vertical and 1,500 linear feet below. John Kiser, Uncle of Miriam Keener, Sequatchie Cove Farm.


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