Nature Note 1: Happy Earth Day! Frogs are Calling - Bureau of Parks and Lands

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Nature Note

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Frogs are Calling

Calls of frogs are one of many signs that springtime has truly arrived in Maine. Here are a few kinds to listen and look for around your home or on your next visit to a park.  For now, just sit back and enjoy this virtual experience.

Spring peeper with vocal sac filled with air and in call on tree branch.

Spring Peeper

Listen for:  A high-pitched repeating peep call heard in the afternoon and throughout the evening during the breeding season. When a group of spring peepers is calling out together it sounds like a high-pitched "fried-rice, fried rice, fried rice" - the mnemonic for remembering their call. 

Look for:  A small orange-tan to tan-brown, smooth-skin frog with a dark "X' on its back. Lighter belly and throat. Total length, tip of nose to hind end, is 0.8 to 1.5 inches.

Spring peeper photo taken in China, Maine and courtesy of David Preston.

Wood frog on forest floor. Maine Natural Areas photo.

Wood Frog

Listen for:  A quivering quacking call which may be confused with the sound of ducks. Group calling mnemonic = “Lick-em-up, lick-em-up, lick-em-up” in a mid-tone quavering voice. Think about the sounds of ducks as you try it.

Look for:  A light brown frog with a thick, dark brown stripe  (mask) below and behind each eye, and a raised ridge (dorso-lateral fold) extending from behind each eye down the back to the frog’s hind end. Total length, tip of nose to hind end, is no more than 2.4 inches.

Wood frog photo courtesy of the Maine Natural Areas Program.

View and listen to more Maine frogs & read Fun Facts for each!

Activities for Children & the Young at Heart

  1. Can you sing out like a spring peeper and then a wood frog?
    (HINT: use the mnemonic for each provided above.)
  2. What call would you make if you were a new kind of a frog?
    Share this call with others, then start a frog chorus of many types of frogs calling together.
  3. Draw a picture of yourself as a frog.
    Can you swim, climb trees, or make great leaps? What parts of your body help you to move as you do?

Write to me if you have a plant or animal that you'd like covered in a Nature Note. Send an email by using the link below. Be sure to put Nature Note in the subject line.

 - Jocelyn Hubbell, Interpretive Specialist, Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands.