The woods have been filled in recent weeks with a chorus of high-pitched noises, giving West Virginians, who are familiar with the sound, a clue that spring is almost here.
It’s not a bird making the noise, but rather a tiny frog called a spring peeper.
“They spend the winters in the forest and are only in the wetlands for the breeding season which is now,” said Dr. Jayme Waldron, associate professor of biological sciences at Marshall University.
“It can be early if the weather is mild, it can be later if we have a really cold winter.”
Spring peepers are nocturnal amphibians found in wooded areas and grassy wetlands near ponds and swamps.
Their chorus can be heard all over the Mountain State in the evening hours and is made up of male frogs trying to attract females. The breeding season lasts for about a month in early spring, which gives parents plenty of opportunities to go outside and teach their kids about wildlife.
“Take your kids out there, let them experience it and then they will love it forever,” Waldron said.
“They really will, because it is really cool to hold a spring peeper in your hand.”