Colorado resident Andrea Lecos was at her compost pile in early February when she heard an unexpected sound.
Lecos: “I heard what I thought was a croak. So I listened more carefully and, sure enough, I started hearing frogs chirping.”
Biologist Michael Benard of Case Western Reserve University says she most likely heard a western chorus frog, which along with the song of the wood frog and the spring peeper, are among some of the first sounds of spring.
Benard: “You have to have it warm enough to thaw out the ground at least a little bit for the frogs to get going. And then you also usually need some precipitation to get them to move around.”
Benard says these cold-weather breeding frogs are emerging earlier.
Benard: “Frogs are breeding earlier and earlier now than they were say 30 years ago, 40 years ago, even 90 years ago.”
Benard’s research shows that after warmer winters, wood frogs breed earlier and produce fewer eggs. But more winter precipitation – which is also expected with global warming – is associated with an increase in egg production, so more research is needed to understand how frogs will respond to the changing climate.
Reporting credits: Jake Ryan, KVNF, Western Colorado for iSeeChange and ChavoBart Digital Media.
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