Thursday, May 20, 2010

Honing your senses - tree frog hunting

One of my favorite summer pastimes is hunting for tree frogs. Gray tree frog (Hyla versicolor) males gather around the pond in our backyard, and sing for the ladies. It's a good thing the pond is far enough away from the house, otherwise I'm not sure we'd ever get to sleep!

A few times when I was younger, my dad would catch a bunch of male tree frogs, put them in a jar, and sneak them into my room as I slept. Their sudden, and very loud, calling would startle me and throw me into a bit of a frenzy trying to find where he hid them. (You can be sure when I have kids I'll be doing the same thing.)

For my outdoor adventures I bring a flashlight, but only for when I think I've found a frog. The point of the exercise, for me, is to see how well I can find a courting tree frog by sound alone.

This can be tricky, especially the way they can throw their voice, or when there's a group of them together. You can think you're right on top of a frog, when it's really five feet away.

Tonight I also brought out my camera, to see if I could catch any frogs in action...

I find it interesting that the frogs get so caught up in their courtship calls, that they lose a bit of awareness. Yes they typically stop calling as you approach, but within minutes they tend to get right back at it, usually not even budging as you approach with a flashlight (or a hand).
Some sit right out in the open, while others like to hide in the grass and leaves by the water's edge. Most of the frogs I heard tonight were in a stand of cattails out in the water, where I could not see or reach them. I managed to get a video of one calling - enjoy!

1 comment:

Ted C. MacRae said...

You should've seen my cat's reaction when I played the video :)