The voices of spring are absent …..and we are worried.
Every spring, sometimes as early as mid February, we hear spring peeper frogs (Pseudacris or Hyla Crucifer) in full chorus near our home. This frog shares a similar habitat with the Eastern Gray Tree Frog. Sadly this season we have heard zip, nada, not a single call of a peeper. Yes, it has been dryer and warmer much sooner in the region, but this has not stopped these determined little fellows before.
Upon closer inspection of the land tract we notice heavy equipment paths and disturbance of vegetation and no woodland vernal pools this year. Unfortunately we will not know until next spring if the early heat this spring and lack of moisture is of issue or destruction through development will have a lasting impact. So far we have seen no physical evidence of the peepers frogs themselves. They can be a bit elusive by day, however without undisturbed cover and water, their breeding cycle is disrupted. These frogs are pretty “neat oh cool”, but temperature extremes and attempts at pristine landscaping is not conducive to their survival. In many states peepers have all but disappeared.