Frog and Toad Spring Concert
Do you know your frog and toad calls? Their mating season is in full swing now, and as a result it seems that every wetland is emitting a combination of quacks, croaks, chirps, and trills. It’s the males of course that are doing all the calling. They’re putting on this spring concert for the ladies and working overtime competing with the other males to ensure the next generation is a strong one.
According to “Reptiles and Amphibians of North Dakota” by Ted Hoberg and Cully Gause, there are four species of frogs in the state (gray tree, northern leopard, western chorus, and wood). They also list five species of toads (American, Canadian, Great Plains, Plains Spadefoot, and Woodhouse’s). Their guide was published in North Dakota Outdoors in 1992, and is geared for the general public. Reprints are available through the State Game and Fish Department. It is also available online on the website of the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center.
Perhaps like you though, I hear the frogs and toads frequently in the spring but seldom see them. As a result, it is rather difficult to put call with species. That is where recordings of their calls on the internet come in quite handy. One site I have found quite helpful was constructed by Dr. Bill Preston, retired Curator of Reptiles, Amphibians, and Fishes at the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature. The site contains recording of all the North Dakota frogs and toads except the Woodhouse’s toad.
Most of the calls I am hearing in the Turtle Mountains right now are the western chorus frog and the wood frog. The chorus frog’s call is often compared to running a fingernail down the teeth of a good comb. The wood frog’s call is often described as several repeated “quacks.”
There are many venues for this year’s frog and toad concert. But as we all know, the tour will only last a few weeks. It will go quickly. So find a front row seat, sit down, and listen to one of spring’s best concerts.
Manitoba Frog and Toad Calls: www.naturenorth.com/spring/sound/shfrsnd.html
Reptiles and Amphibians of North Dakota by Ted Hoberg and Cully Gause from North Dakota Outdoors, 1992.
Reprints are available through the North Dakota Game and Fish Department:
To view the publication on the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center website:
Natural North Dakota is supported by NDSU Central Grasslands Research Extension Center and Minot State University-Bottineau, and by the members of Prairie Public. Thanks to Sunny 101.9 in Bottineau for their recording services.
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