Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Episode 570 (3-29-21): Peepers Sound a Chorus that Signals Spring and Water

Click to listen to episode (3:49)

Sections below are the following:

Transcript of Audio
Audio Notes and Acknowledgments
Images
Extra Information
Sources
Related Water Radio Episodes
For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.)

Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 3-26-21.

TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of March 29, 2021.  This revised episode from April 2012 is part of a series this year of spring-related episodes.

SOUND  – ~ 6 sec

This week, we feature an amphibious, sign-of-spring mystery sound.  Have a listen for about 10 more seconds, and see if you recognize this chorus, which you may have heard on spring evenings in areas near standing water.

SOUND  - 10 sec 

If you guessed Spring Peeper frogs, you’re right!  Spring Peepers, occurring throughout the eastern and central United States and Canada, are one of seven native chorus frog species in Virginia.  Their choruses are the combination of mating calls produced by many individual males when air in a throat pouch is drawn across the voice box.  The mating calls occur in Virginia from February to June, but Spring Peeper sounds often can be heard again in the Commonwealth in fall as days shorten and temperatures cool.

Like other frogs, toads, and salamanders, Spring Peepers are amphibians, and they rely on water for reproduction.  Winter and spring precipitation provide ephemeral – or temporary – ponds and pools, where many amphibians’ eggs transform into tadpoles and eventually into adults that, in many species, move onto land. 

For Spring Peepers, breeding takes place in a variety of water bodies and wetlands near trees, shrubs, or other vegetation on which females deposit their eggs.  After hatching into tadpoles—known scientifically as larvae—Spring Peeper’s metamorphosis to adult takes about three months, after which the adults move into woodlands.

As tadpoles, Spring Peepers feed on material suspended in the water.  The adults feed on a variety of insects, spiders, and other invertebrates.  Predators on Spring Peeper tadpoles include giant water bugs, predaceous diving beetles, and dragonflies, while the adults may fall prey to salamanders, spiders, snakes, owls, and other birds.

You’re not likely to see these one-inch-long frogs, but their loud mating calls are prevalent across the Commonwealth in spring and early summer, reminding us of the presence and importance of wetlands and small seasonal bodies of water.

We close by letting Spring Peepers have the last call—a springtime chorus that I hope resounds at some water near you.

SOUND  - ~7 sec

SHIP’S BELL

Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624.  Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close this show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

AUDIO NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The episode is a revised version of Episode 105, 4-2-12.  Virginia Water Radio thanks Heather Longo (formerly Heather Vereb) for researching and writing that episode.

The Spring Peeper sounds were recorded by Virginia Water Radio at Heritage Park in Blacksburg, Va., on March 21, 2020.

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (1 min./11 sec.) of the “Cripple Creek” arrangement/performance by Stewart Scales that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Scales and the group New Standard, with which Mr. Scales plays, is available online at http://newstandardbluegrass.com.

IMAGE

Spring Peeper, photographed at Virginia Beach, Virginia, September 23, 2017.  Photo by user Rae1211, made available on iNaturalist at https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/8082565 (as of 3-26-21) for use under Creative Commons license “Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0.”  Information about this Creative Commons license is available online at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

EXTRA INFORMATION ABOUT SPRING PEEPERS

The scientific name of Spring Peeper is Pseudacris crucifer.

The following information on Spring Peepers is taken from the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (formerly Department of Game and Inland Fisheries), “Fish and Wildlife Information Service/Spring Peeper,” online at https://services.dwr.virginia.gov/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=020071&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=18711.  

Physical Description

“This species ranges in length from 19-35 mm (0.75-1.5 in).  Dorsal coloration can be yellow, tan, brown, gray, or olive with a distinctive dark X-shaped mark.  The northern subspecies found here in Virginia has a plain or virtually plain belly.  There is typically a dark bar-like marking between the eyes.  Males have dark throats and are usually smaller and darker than the females.”

Reproduction

“This species breeds from February through May in woodland ponds, swamps, and ditches.  Choral groups are found where trees or shrubs are standing in water or nearby.  Mating call is a high piping whistle repeated about once every second.  A large chorus resembles the sound of sleigh bells.  Sometimes an individual exhibits a trilling peep in the background of a large chorus.  Females lay an average of 900 eggs per clutch.  Eggs are laid singly and attached to submerged vegetation or other objects.  Eggs hatch in an average of 6 days.  Metamorphosis occurs in an average of 45 days though a range of 3 to 4 months is also reported.  Individuals typically reach sexual maturity at 1 year.”

Behavior

“This species inhabits woodlands under forest litter or within brushy undergrowth.  They are particularly abundant in brushy secondary growth or cutover woodlots if they are close to small temporary or semi-permanent ponds or swamps.  Specimens are rarely seen outside of the breeding season though occasionally an individual can be found traveling through the woods by day in wet weather.  Their diet consists primarily of small arthropods. This species may fall prey to large spiders.  This species has been shown to tolerate temperatures of -6 degrees Celsius for 5 days.  At the end of that period, approximately 35% of body fluids were frozen.  This and other species that tolerate extreme cold temperatures were shown to have high levels of glycerol in body tissues during the winter.  Glycerol is absent from body tissues in the summer.  …This species requires marshy ponds, ditches, and swamps with proximal shrubs.”

SOURCES

Used for Audio

Lang Elliott, The Calls of Frogs and Toads, Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, Penn., 2004.

John D. Kleopfer and Chris S. Hobson, A Guide to the Frogs and Toads of Virginia, Special Publication Number 3, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Richmond, 2011.

Bernard S. Martof et al., Amphibians and Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1980.

Robert Powell et al., Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Fourth Edition, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston and New York, 2016.

University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, “Animal Diversity Web,” online at https://animaldiversity.org.  The Spring Peeper entry is online at https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Pseudacris_crucifer/.

Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (formerly Department of Game and Inland Fisheries), “Fish and Wildlife Information Service,” online at https://services.dwr.virginia.gov/fwis/.  The Spring Peeper entry is online at https://services.dwr.virginia.gov/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=020071&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=18711.  Entries for Virginia’s seven chorus frog species (in the genus Pseudacris) are at this link.  Entries for amphibians in Virginia are at this link. 

___, “List of Native and Naturalized Fauna in Virginia, April 2018,” online (as a PDF) at https://dwr.virginia.gov/wp-content/uploads/virginia-native-naturalized-species.pdf.

Virginia Herpetological Society, (VHS), “Frogs and Toads of Virginia,” online at https://www.virginiaherpetologicalsociety.com/amphibians/frogsandtoads/frogs_and_toads_of_virginia.htm.  The Spring Peeper entry is online at http://www.virginiaherpetologicalsociety.com/amphibians/frogsandtoads/northern-spring-peeper/northern_spring_peeper.php.  (The VHS supports the scientific study of amphibians (frogs, toads, and salamanders) and reptiles (lizards, snakes, and turtles.)

___, “Virginia Frog Phrenology (Calling/Breeding Periods), online (as a PDF) at https://www.virginiaherpetologicalsociety.com/amphibians/frogsandtoads/_phenology/va-frog-and-toad-phenology.pdf.

For More Information about Amphibians in Virginia and Elsewhere

AmphibiaWeb, online at https://amphibiaweb.org/index.html.  The Spring Peeper entry is online at https://amphibiaweb.org/cgi/amphib_query?where-genus=Pseudacris&where-species=crucifer&account=amphibiaweb.

Kathleen Gaskell, Chesapeake Challenge—Spring peepers will trill you to pieces, Bay Journal, March 2021.

J.C. Mitchell and K.K. Reay, Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Virginia, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries/Richmond (1999); available online (as a PDF) at https://www.virginiaherpetologicalsociety.com/atlases/mitchell-atlas.pdf, courtesy of the Virginia Herpetological Society.

Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, “Frog Friday: Where Do Frogs Go in Winter?” December 11, 2015, online at https://dwr.virginia.gov/blog/frog-friday-where-do-frogs-go-in-the-winter/.

___, “Virginia is for Frogs,” online at https://dwr.virginia.gov/wildlife/virginia-is-for-frogs/.

___, “Wildlife Information,” online at https://dwr.virginia.gov/wildlife/information/.  This site lists wildlife animals found in Virginia, with links to species accounts.

RELATED VIRGINIA WATER RADIO EPISODES

All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html).  See particularly the “Amphibians” subject category.

Following are links to other spring-themed episodes.  (Please note: several of these may be redone in spring 2021.  As that occurs, the links below will include directions to the blog post for the updated episodes.)

Eastern Phoebe – Episode 416, 4-16-18.
Frog and Toad Medley – Episode 408, 2-19-18.
Spring arrival episode – Episode 569, 3-22-21.
Spring forest wildflowers – Episode 212, 5-5-14.
Spring reminder about tornado awareness – Episode 568, 3-15-21.
Spring signals for fish – Episode 311, 4-11-16.
Spring sounds serenades –
Episode 206, 3-14-14 and Episode 516, 3-16-20.
Warblers and spring bird migration – Episode 157, 4-15-13.

Following are links to some other episodes on chorus frogs.

Brimley’s Chorus Frog – Episode 563, 2-8-21.
Chorus frogs group in Virginia – Episode 464, 3-18-19.
Little Grass Frog (along with Wood Frog) – Episode 509, 1-27-20.

FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERS – RELATED STANDARDS OF LEARNING (SOLs) AND OTHER INFORMATION

Following are some Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) that may be supported by this episode’s audio/transcript, sources, or other information included in this post.

2018 Science SOLs 

Grades K-4: Living Systems and Processes
1.5 – Animals, including humans, have basic life needs that allow them to survive.
2.4 – Plants and animals undergo a series of orderly changes as they grow and develop, including life cycles.
2.5 – Living things are part of a system.
3.4 – Adaptations allow organisms to satisfy life needs and respond to the environment.
3.5 – Aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems support a diversity of organisms.
4.2 – Plants and animals have structures that distinguish them from one another and play vital roles in their ability to survive.
4.3 – Organisms, including humans, interact with one another and with the nonliving components in the ecosystem.

Grades K-5: Earth Resources
4.8. – Virginia has important natural resources.

Life Science
LS.6     – Populations in a biological community interact and are interdependent.
LS.7 – Adaptations support an organism’s survival in an ecosystem. 

Biology
BIO.8 – Dynamic equilibria exist within populations, communities, and ecosystems.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.

Following are links to Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels.

Episode 250, 1-26-15 – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 255, 3-2-15
– on density, for 5th and 6th grade.
Episode 282, 9-21-15
– on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten.
Episode 309, 3-28-16
– on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Episode 333, 9-12-16
– on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.
Episode 403, 1-15-18
– on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 404, 1-22-18
– on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade.
Episode 406, 2-5-18
– on ice on rivers, for middle school.
Episode 407, 2-12-18
– on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.
Episode 483, 7-29-19
– on buoyancy and drag, for middle school and high school.
Episode 524, 5-11-20
– on sounds by water-related animals, for elementary school through high school.
Episode 531, 6-29-20
– on various ways that animals get water, for 3rd and 4th grade.
Episode 539, 8-24-20
– on basic numbers and facts about Virginia’s water resources, for 4th and 6th grade.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Episode 569 (3-22-21): Treating Spring Fever with Water, Featuring “Until the Summer Comes” by The Steel Wheels

Click to listen to episode (4:23)

Sections below are the following:

Transcript of Audio
Audio Notes and Acknowledgments
Images
Sources
Related Water Radio Episodes
For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.)

Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 3-19-21.

TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of March 22, 2021.  This revised episode from March 2016 is part of a series this year of spring-related episodes.

MUSIC  – ~ 13 sec Lyrics: “see I ate all my dinner, and so much for winter; I’m gonna run till the springtime’s gone.”

This week, music from the Harrisonburg, Va.-based band, The Steel Wheels, captures some of the “fever” of spring, which begins astronomically in the northern hemisphere on March 20 this year.  Have a listen for about 40 more seconds.

Music – ~ 41 sec Lyrics: “Hey, hey, hey, what a day.  I’m gonna soak up sun, gonna dry out the river, I’m gonna run to the shimmering pond, until the summer comes….”

You’ve been listening to part of “Until the Summer Comes,” from The Steel Wheels’ 2013 album, “No More Rain.” Water is part of spring’s feverish pull for this song’s narrator and for many non-humans, like Spring Peepers [SOUND ~ 3 sec] seeking temporary ponds for breeding; Red-winged Blackbirds [SOUND ~ 3 sec] nesting in wetlands; and—to humans’ dismay—mosquitoes [SOUND ~ 2 sec] seeking all kinds of standing water for egg-laying.

As of this recording on March 19, water supplies were mostly in good condition across Virginia.  The U.S. Drought Monitor from the University of Nebraska showed no current drought in Virginia; the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s drought indicators map showed mostly normal conditions, except for low groundwater in part of northern Virginia; and the U.S. Geological Survey’s WaterWatch showed stream flows over the past 28 days at or above normal across the Commonwealth.

Let’s hope that those good water conditions persist well beyond when summer begins astronomically on June 20, for the sake of kids in creeks, frogs in ponds, birds in wetlands, water supplies in reservoirs, plants in the ground, and countless other aquatic connections.

Thanks to Freesound.org for the mosquito sound, and thanks to The Steel Wheels for permission to use this week’s music.  Here’s to spring’s arrival, and we close with about 25 more seconds of “Until the Summer Comes.”

MUSIC – ~ 26 sec – Lyrics: “Until the summer comes.” 

SHIP’S BELL

Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624.  Thanks to Ben Cosgrove for his version of “Shenandoah” to open and close the show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

AUDIO NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This Virginia Water Radio episode revises and replaces Episode 308, 3-21-16.

“Until the Summer Comes,” by The Steel Wheels, is from the 2013 album “No More Rain,” used with permission. More information about The Steel Wheels is available online at http://www.thesteelwheels.com/.

The Spring Peeper sound was recorded by Virginia Water Radio at Heritage Park in Blacksburg, Va., on March 17, 2021.

The Red-winged Blackbird sound was recording by Virginia Water Radio in Blacksburg, Va., on March 26, 2015.

The mosquito sound was recorded by user Zywx and made available for public use on Freesound.org, online at https://www.freesound.org/people/Zywx/sounds/188708/, under Creative Commons License 0 (public domain).  More information about Creative Commons is online at http://creativecommons.org/; license information specifically is online at https://creativecommons.org/about/cclicenses/.

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (2 min./22 sec.) of the “Shenandoah” arrangement/performance by Ben Cosgrove that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Cosgrove is available online at http://www.bencosgrove.com.

IMAGES


Above: Two early spring views of shimmering ponds in Blacksburg, Va.: upper photo - a temporary pool and an adjacent wetlands where several kinds of frogs breed and Red-winged Blackbirds are common, April 4, 2015; lower photo - part of Virginia Tech's Duck Pond, March 21, 2016.

Above: Map of stream flows at Virginia gaging stations averaged over the past 28 days, as of March 18, 2021, and compared to normal flows, according to the color-coding chart below the map.  Map from the U.S. Geological Survey’s “WaterWatch” site, online at https://waterwatch.usgs.gov/index.php?m=pa28d&r=va&w=map, accessed 3/19/21.


Above: Virginia drought indicator map as of 3/18/21, from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, accessed online at this link, 3/19/21.

SOURCES USED FOR AUDIO AND OFFERING MORE INFORMATION

Deborah Byrd, “Everything you need to know: Vernal equinox 2016,” EarthSky, 3/16/16, online at http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/everything-you-need-to-know-vernal-or-spring-equinox.

Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, “All About Birds,” online at http://www.allaboutbirds.org.  The Red-winged Blackbird entry is online at https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Red-winged_Blackbird.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), “Meteorological Versus Astronomical Seasons,” online at https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/news/meteorological-versus-astronomical-seasons.

National Weather Service/Climate Prediction Center, “U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook for March 18—June 30, 2021” (released March 18. 2021), online at http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/expert_assessment/sdo_summary.php.

U.S. Geological Survey, “Water Watch,” Virginia 28-day streamflow map, online at https://waterwatch.usgs.gov/index.php?m=pa28d&r=va&w=map, on 3/18/21.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, “U.S. Drought Monitor,” online at http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/.

U.S. Naval Observatory, “Earth’s Seasons—Equinoxes and Solstices—2021-2025,” online (as PDF) at http://www.weather.gov/media/ind/seasons.pdf.

Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, “Virginia is for Frogs,” online at https://dwr.virginia.gov/wildlife/virginia-is-for-frogs/.

Va. Drought Monitoring Task Force, “Current Drought Conditions in Virginia,” online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/Drought.aspx, accessed 3/18/16.

Virginia Herpetological Society, online at http://www.virginiaherpetologicalsociety.com/.  Herpetology is the study of amphibians (including frogs, toads, and salamanders) and reptiles (including lizards, snakes, and turtles).

Virginia Water Resources Research Center, “Mosquitoes and Water,” Virginia Water Central Newsletter, June 2009 (pages 6-15), online at http://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/handle/10919/49357.

RELATED VIRGINIA WATER RADIO EPISODES

All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html).  See particularly the “Amphibians,” “Birds,” and “Overall Importance of Water” subject categories.

Following are links to other spring-themed episodes.  (Please note: several of these may be redone in spring 2021.  As that occurs, the links below will include directions to the blog post for the updated episodes.)

Eastern Phoebe – Episode 416, 4-16-18.
Frog and Toad Medley – Episode 408, 2-19-18.
Spring forest wildflowers – Episode 212, 5-5-14.
Spring Peepers – Episode 105, 4-2-12.
Spring reminder about tornado awareness – Episode 568, 3-15-21.
Spring signals for fish – Episode 311, 4-11-16.
Spring sounds serenades –
Episode 206, 3-14-14 and Episode 516, 3-16-20.
Warblers and spring bird migration – Episode 157, 4-15-13.

FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERS – RELATED STANDARDS OF LEARNING (SOLs) AND OTHER INFORMATION

Following are some Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) that may be supported by this episode’s audio/transcript, sources, or other information included in this post.

2020 Music SOLs

SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

2018 Science SOLs

Grades K-4: Living Systems and Processes
K.7 – Plants and animals have basic needs and life processes.
1.4 – Plants have basic life needs (including water) and functional parts that allow them to survive.
1.5 – Animals, including humans, have basic life needs that allow them to survive.
2.4 – Plants and animals undergo a series of orderly changes as they grow and develop, including life cycles.
3.5 – Aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems support a diversity of organisms.
4.3 – Organisms, including humans, interact with one another and with the nonliving components in the ecosystem.

Grades K-5: Earth and Space Systems
1.7 – There are weather and seasonal changes.
2.7 – Weather patterns and seasonal changes affect plants, animals, and their surroundings.
3.7 – There is a water cycle and water is important to life on Earth.

Grades K-5: Earth Resources
4.8. – Virginia has important natural resources.

Life Science
LS.5 – Biotic and abiotic factors affect an ecosystem.
LS.8 – Changes occur in ecosystems, communities, populations, and organisms over time. 

Earth Science
ES.12 – The Earth’s weather and climate result from the interaction of the sun’s energy with the atmosphere, oceans, and the land.

Biology
BIO.8 – Dynamic equilibria exist within populations, communities, and ecosystems.

2015 Social Studies SOLs 

Grades K-3 Geography Theme
1.6 – Virginia climate, seasons, and landforms.

World Geography Course
WG.2 – how selected physical and ecological processes shape the Earth’s surface, including climate, weather, and how humans influence their environment and are influenced by it.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.

Following are links to Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels.

Episode 250, 1-26-15 – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 255, 3-2-15
– on density, for 5th and 6th grade.
Episode 282, 9-21-15
– on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten.
Episode 309, 3-28-16
– on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Episode 333, 9-12-16
– on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.
Episode 403, 1-15-18
– on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 404, 1-22-18
– on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade.
Episode 406, 2-5-18
– on ice on rivers, for middle school.
Episode 407, 2-12-18
– on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.
Episode 483, 7-29-19
– on buoyancy and drag, for middle school and high school.
Episode 524, 5-11-20
– on sounds by water-related animals, for elementary school through high school.
Episode 531, 6-29-20
– on various ways that animals get water, for 3rd and 4th grade.