Mar 16, 2011

Nature Note: Peepers at Last!!

It's all done with that very stretchy throat.
I realized only this last week that I had not heard spring peepers yet!! I usually hear them as early as mid-February and yet not a "peep" so far. But tonight, when letting Mr. Bingley in, I rejoiced at the chorus of little Hallelujahs coming from the neighbor's pond.
Have you ever seen 
a cuter amphibian?

Can't say what delayed them.  I don't think it was a lack of noticing on my part because with that pond close-at-hand you don't really have to try. Our bathroom faces that direction as does the back door so there's plenty of opportunity. 
Anyway, breakthrough.

   This observation does fly in the face of a study of changing animal habits attributed to global warming though.  
I was just reading the other night---in that bathroom---from the March 2011 edition of "Birdscope", a publication of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, that long-kept nature journals by "citizen scientists" (normal people like you who don't get paid, they just like doing it) have pointed to a trend across many species of animals of ever-earlier spring habits such as migration, mating, and even peeping. Maybe my peepers are radical non-conforming peepers.

Here is a quickie fact page by The Department of Natural Resources on "pseudacris crucifer" that could help your child's (or your) nature notebook. Note the "false cross" on the back. See? A basic knowledge of Latin does pay off. I also like how this site describes the sound of many peepers peeping together like "sleighbells!" (Though at this time of the year I don't want anything to remind me of winter.)
No wonder they're hard to find.
Of course the really amazing thing about these little guys---and it is just the guys---is that peeping. I mean, look at the size of him and then consider that he can be heard so far away. That pond I've been talking about is a good hundred yards--close but not THAT close-- and I hear them clearly, even if just a few are calling.
Here's a more in-depth site that also has .wav recordings of their singing.

In the six years I've lived at this house I've never seen one and if you do, please tell me about it and how you did it. 'Cuz whenever I try to get close enough, they all go silent.  Drives me crazy. 

In the meantime, I'm ready to sleep with the window open to be "sung" to sleep!

How about you? Got Peepers?

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