The Sound of Spring
An Unexpected Experience
Walking onto the trail beside the river, I was expecting simply to enjoy the sun on my face and a soft breeze on a warmer-than-average early spring day. My experience was so much more. It was a first for me, and it made me question my worldly notion of myself.
Not far from the trailhead, I began to hear chirping from the other side of the river. I knew immediately that the frogs were active in one of the vernal pools (seasonal pools of water) above the river. I was determined to hike the full loop of the trail to investigate.
Less than a hundred feet further, around the bend, I heard the familiar chatter again, this time from my side of the river. And not far from there, the sound enveloped me, every pool rippling with activity. One pool in particular drew me closer.
Sure, I know where tadpoles come from; they poof into existence in puddles during spring. Perhaps someone should have had ‘the talk’ with me before I learned the truth on the trail at this ripe age.
The truth—new wood frogs arrive in this world through the collaboration of two consenting (compelled) adult wood frogs. The female deposits her eggs in the water, and the most acrobatic fella wins when it comes to fertilizing them.
(Learn more from the NPS and other Resources below.)
The contest for fatherhood is intense. Had I heard such a tale on the street, I wouldn’t have believed it. I couldn’t count the heads because the competition was layers deep. So, I just watched in wonder at the frenzy of frog-making before me. I’m pretty sure I blushed.
The saying goes, “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.” Whoever said this first must have been referring to the wood frog. Not only did these small creatures endure freezing (literally) during the winter, they thawed out with enough energy to spring into action.
During winter hibernation, the wood frog is able to freeze nearly half of its body. Ice crystals form within its skin, stopping its heartbeat, breathing and blood flow.
(Learn more from the Chesapeake Bay Program and other Resources below.)
The fruits of this spring revival and impulsive procreation were evident along the shore of the pool. Thousands upon thousands of frog eggs floated together in clusters, anchored by vegetation. Each gel egg sac encased a single black dot that will, nature willing, become a wiggly tadpole, and then a leaping frog. Remarkable.
I hope you’ll join me in the video below to experience this very special springtime outdoor adventure. And subscribe to the Ecopsyched! YouTube channel (and hit the notifications bell) to never miss an adventure!
This experience ranks close to the top on my list of favorite springtime experiences. What’s your favorite sign of spring. Let me know in the comments below!
Thank you for joining me on this and future Ecopsyched! adventures. I hope they inspire you to explore outdoors and get creative.
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Spring Fling Frogs: Copyright © Lisa Barry 2021.
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