Critter Watch: Pacific Chorus Frog

I promised back in January that we would tap Veronica Woodruff’s amazing knowledge and passion for wetlands critters… Here she shares her enthusiasm for the arrival of the Pacific Chorus Frog.

I have been anxiously awaiting the annual glee club convergence of the Pacific Chorus Frog. One of the random things I have been keeping subjective track of over the years is what date do I hear the frogs calling from my backyard? Most of my 12-year long record shows the frogs start between April 1-3 but have been as late as April 7 and last year they started on March 18. Why this is important to me, I am not sure, but perhaps in 2064 Pacific Chorus frogs are calling in February which may tell a story of localized climate warming.

Maybe they were inspired by Earth Hour, but this year, they started March 29. How’s that for #bebrilliant?

Pacific Chorus Frog at my house:

Pacific Chorus Frog photo by Veronica Woodruff

The Pacific Chorus Frog is common and widespread. It is adaptable to any environment where it can breed. I had a good laugh at a BCTV story about neighbors embroiled in heated arguments over an enthusiastic Pacific Chorus Frog that had colonized a small backyard water feature. Some people apparently hate the noise the male frogs are able to produce. I love this sound and have visited many local wetlands just after dark to lie down and be enveloped in the serenade. It takes a few minutes of laying still because they will stop calling when you first show up but be patient. Riverside Wetland and the Urdal-Fraser Connector wetland are great places to try this exercise.

Pemberton has so many interesting critters living here but getting to know the most common ones is a great way to engage kids in nature.

Right about now, you’ll be able to sit on your deck virtually anywhere in Pemberton and talk about the Pacific Chorus Frog.

Try these fun facts from BC Frogwatch:

  • They can change colour rapidly!
  • They can throw their voices!
  • Their call is commonly used in movies!

Pacific Chorus Frog at Ivey Lake Lodge:

Screen shot 2014-03-29 at 7.56.16 PM

Late March, Pacific Chorus Frogs are hunkered down under logs and rocks where they have spent the winter. They will head down to a local waterway (wetland, pond, ditch, backyard feature) where the males will croon to the ladies. Eggs are laid and fertilized and about eight to ten weeks later, tiny air breathing frogs climb out of the water and up into the hills. There they will feed on a variety of invertebrates and be preyed upon by a vast number of predators. Next spring the little ones are ready to start up their own orchestras and begin their breeding lives.

Hibernating Pacific Chorus Frogs at Fulton’s Wetland, one found under wood and one found under a rock.

Screen shot 2014-03-29 at 7.56.27 PM

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