Sunday, April 30, 2006

An Amphibious Chorus

Spring brings so many wonders of new life. The winter – as mild as it was – was long enough for one to appreciate just how magnificent spring is when it does arrive. As I have posted previously, each spring the chorus of northern spring peepers [Pseudacris crucifer] serenades us in the evenings. I could also hear another sound that for the longest time I mistook for a cricket. The peeper makes a fairly shrill peep. This other sound was a much softer and quite pleasant vibrating whistle.

Last summer at one of the meetings or conferences that we attended I picked up a CD entitled: “Natural Sounds of Ontario, Birds, Frogs and Mammals” by Monty Brigham. It is distributed by RMP Biological Ltd. C/o Monty Brigham, P.O. Box 1061, Manotick, ON K4M 1A9, Canada. Sale of the CD supports the activities of the Eastern Ontario Biodiversity Museum in Kemptville ON. See for more details.

The CD is a compilation of 97 natural sounds. Through this CD I was able to determine that the sound that I thought was a cricket was actually an American Toad [Bufo Americanus]. According to Peterson Field Guide, Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern/Central America, by Roger Conant and Joseph T. Collins, ISBN 0-395-90452-8, this toad is probably the most common in this area and we are located in the midst of its range. For some more local information on the toad see This toad has a voracious appetite for insects and other invertebrates which is great as we have lots.

So now when I go to sleep to the amphibious lullaby I will know who is performing.

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