Sunday, April 17, 2011

Still waiting for spring

I have not received any new reports of frogs calling in the Duluth area since Thursday, when the temperatures dropped and then a snowstorm blew in.  The birds have continued to sing, so I don't doubt that spring is truly here.  However, this weather has probably slowed the frogs down.  I don't expect any more frog activity until it warms up again, probably Thursday based on the current weather predictions.

Wood frogs (Rana sylvatica) are the first to start calling around Duluth.  The wood frog call is usually described as 'quark-quark-quark' or duck-like. Wood frogs are easily recognizable by a dark mask and white lip line.  In overall color they range from light to dark brown and sometimes are pink or reddish. 
wood frog
Within a few days, wood frogs are joined by Western Chorus Frogs (Pseudacris triseriata) and Spring Peepers (Psedacris crucifer). Both of these frogs are very small, reaching only 1 inch or 1.5 inches as adults, but make very LOUD calls. Chorus frogs sound like running your thumb over a comb and spring peepers make a really loud 'peep' over and over. Chorus frogs range in color from tan to brown to green and can be recognized by the strips on their back. Spring peepers are generally light tan with a slightly darker brown X on their back. 
chorus frog

spring peeper

To see when frogs begin to call across North America see the map at Journey North Spring 2011 - First Frogs

Next week I'll give some tips on identifying wood frog eggs (along with photos).


  1. I heard my first frogs of the year this afternoon on a walk by my house - near the airport in Duluth. From a distance I heard chorus frogs and when I got closer, I discovered there were a few wood frogs in the mix as well. Very exciting! I also encountered an otter crossing the road near the pond. Perhaps he had just been out for a frog dinner?

  2. Tom - Thanks for the frog report! I guess the frogs are not going to wait for the warm-up. I will be out looking for wood frog eggs this afternoon.