It's that time of year when the swampy woodlands boom with sound. Many people think the "ree, ree, ree" sound that comes blasting out of the wet woodlands in the spring is an insect. But perhaps you'll be surprised to learn that sound is made by a frog. Well, lots of frogs actually.
Spring Peepers live their entire lives in swampy woodland and edges. They are tiny tiny little frogs of about an inch or so long that live near vernal pools. Vernal pools are temporary ponds, swamps or wetlands that form only during wet weather.
In the early spring, when temperatures are around 50 degrees in the daytime, Spring Peepers go crazy calling. They are loudest at dusk and dawn and their sound fills the forest. They are advertising their prowess for a mate. These little frogs mate, lay eggs, and the tadpoles grow up into frogs, all before those vernal pools dry up. You will rarely see these little frogs, they are small and beautifully camouflaged to match the surrounding early spring colors. If you approach where they are calling, they will get quiet fast. So how can you see one?
One late March evening when you hear them calling, grab a 5 gallon bucket, some tall boots, a warm jacket and a flashlight. Go somewhere you've heard them, turn the bucket upside down and have a seat. Wait for them to start calling around you and try to spot one with the flashlight. Seeing something so small making such a large noise is just humbling and a bit magical. If you turn your flashlight off and just listen, you'll soon be overwhelmed with the sheer level of sound of a group of Spring Peepers on an early spring night.