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Spring Peepers Calling

9-11-15 spring peeper 174The peeps of male Spring Peepers can be heard fairly consistently this time of year. Unlike in the spring, these calls are coming not from bodies of water, but from the woods nearby. And they are single peeps coming from individual peepers, not the chorus of “sleigh bells” one hears in the spring. This phenomenon occurs so regularly in the fall that herpetologists have given it a name – “fall echo.” They speculate that the calling of peepers is spurred by light and temperature conditions, when fall climate conditions are similar to those of spring.

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17 responses

  1. Peter Hope

    I think I was hearing a lot of gray tree frogs singing last night also here in the woods outside Jericho Center

    September 11, 2015 at 7:47 am

  2. Brad Wheeler

    So grateful for this post, Mary. I’ve been hearing these guys at night lately and scratching my head over who might be out there sounding like a frog in the spring. Now I know, thanks to your post. It’s always such a pleasure to find out what you’ve sent out each day. Little drops of knowledge, waiting for me to soak them up. Many thanks, Brad

    September 11, 2015 at 7:51 am

    • You’re so welcome, Brad. Thank you for your kind words.

      September 11, 2015 at 8:20 am

  3. Suzanne

    I have always thought that was what I was hearing this time of year …. never took the time to find out, so thanks for confirming it. Fall echo – I like that!

    September 11, 2015 at 7:51 am

  4. Sheila Ht

    Mary, we have been puzzled for quite some time about the sound we hear in the trees next to the roads, usually at dusk and early evening. It sounds like ducks quacking and they all have the same song. Can you enlighten us?

    September 11, 2015 at 7:51 am

    • What you’re describing sounds exactly like wood frogs calling, but that typically only happens in the spring in bodies of water. Possibly gray treefrogs? They have a very distinctive trill, which is often mistaken for a bird…see if this is what you’re hearing:

      September 11, 2015 at 8:19 am

  5. An elegant name, the fall echo….

    Jillian Joyce

    September 11, 2015 at 7:54 am

  6. Susan Holland

    Love the photograph!!!!! And the name fall echo is perfect!

    September 11, 2015 at 8:14 am

  7. April

    A little sad – thinking of all that unrequited mating calling this time of year.
    I don’t think I could pick out those sounds among the crazy chorus of cicadas, crickets and katydids this time of year.

    September 11, 2015 at 8:27 am

  8. Tami

    I work at a state park in Maine and close the park several times a week. A couple of years ago, I decided to find out what was making “the noise”, as the park crew was calling it. I spent the better part of 45 minutes stalking “the noise” and was finally rewarded by the discovery of a tiny peeper sitting at the junction of a twig and the trunk of a sapling. My co-workers were surpised when I revealed what was making “the noise” the next day.

    We bought your book for our park resource library and we love it!

    September 11, 2015 at 8:44 am

  9. Fall echo, how perfect! You’ve answered a question that has frustrated me in many a late August while at my woodland cabin in Maine. No chorusing insects in that spot, often eerily quiet except for this singular, plaintiff peeping which at odd moments is joined by several other distant peeps in what sounds like a brief conversation, or minimalist version of a spring peeper chorus. These calls begin in the morning and occur on and off through the day. Back in Concord, I heard one again yesterday in the woods at Great Meadows NWR and wondering began anew. Thanks for responding!

    September 11, 2015 at 8:56 am

  10. Have been hearing them and the gray tree frogs lately, telling us it is fall!

    September 11, 2015 at 9:02 am

  11. Kathie Fiveash

    Tonight when I pull my light blanket up to my chin and fold my arm over the top, I’m going to pretend that I am a peeper.

    September 11, 2015 at 9:05 am

  12. Marilyn

    As many others, I was astonished to hear an occasional “peep” recently. As I was when I moved the old faithful fuchsia off the deck floor to give it blooming room and discovered a peeper sitting in the moss in the plant pot.
    With each of your intriguing posts, my senses open a tad more!

    September 11, 2015 at 11:26 am

  13. Cliff Fairweather

    Even the peepers in the exhibit room here at Long Branch Nature Center in Arlington, VA join in on the fall echo.

    September 11, 2015 at 11:33 am

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