A bit ahead of schedule? Perhaps. But make no mistake, the spring peepers were out in full force this past weekend...an uplifting reminder that Old Man Winter is slowly but surely loosening his icy grip. For those who haven't lived in a rural area at any point in their life...spring peepers are tiny tree frogs that make an unmistakeable "peeping" noise on balmy spring evenings, typically beginning around sunset and lasting into the wee hours of the morning. They are one of the most familiar frogs in eastern North America.
The spring peeper is a fascinating specimen. Approximately the size of a thumb nail, the peeper is often heard but rarely seen. They are typically found in fishless, temporary wetlands associated with forested habitats like marshy woods, non-wooded lowlands, or near ponds and swamps. Between the months of March and June, hundreds of tiny peeper eggs are laid in the water, with the strings or clumps of eggs attached to twigs and aquatic vegetation. After the breeding season they move into woodlands, old fields or shrubby areas. As the days cool, the peepers dig into the soft mud near ponds where they will ultimately go into a type of partly-frozen hibernation for the winter.
Never heard what a peeper sounds like? Click on the link below for an audio clip: