Monday, April 25, 2011

Spring is ... Noisy!

In upstate NY you hear spring before you see it. Sure, the red maple buds have brushed the slopes with a blush of color, and the coltsfoot is blooming yellow like a dandelion that forgot its leaves. The forsythia is almost out and the sky is blue, for brief moments.

USGS photo in public domain
But what you really notice about spring coming is the noise. It doesn't creep in on tiny cat feet. No, spring makes a splash with an evening of peeper symphonies. 

Peepers are tiny frogs, no longer than your average paper clip and maybe as wide as a kid's thumb. They're tree frogs that, this time of year, migrate to ponds in search of a mate. And that's what all the singing is about - guy peepers seeking gal peepers.

A peeper song sounds just like a chick peep, with a rise at the end. To make that sound the guy - and it is the guys who sing - takes a deep breath, closes his mouth and nostrils, and then pushes air across the vocal cords. Put a bunch of guy peepers in a pond and get 'em singing and it sounds like jingle bells - and the sound can travel far, at least half a mile.  If you don't have peepers in your neck of the woods, click here to listen.

No comments:

Post a Comment