Creature Calls – Nature’s Soundtrack
In spring, the earth is buzzing with the sounds of wildlife. While field work is on hold right now due to COVID-19, we’re lucky we can still tune into nature’s soundtrack. In early March, we installed recording devices in wetlands that are recording now.
Are you able to tell who’s who based on their calls? Let’s have a look at some common animals from our watershed.
These songbirds often make a mumbled cuck or tuk to communicate with each other or a sharp yeep or peek as an alarm call. Their song is described as a series of loud, sweet whistles: “cheerily, cheer up, cheerio”.
Contrary to popular belief, handling toads does not cause humans to develop warts. The large wart-like features on their back, called parotoid glands, contain a poisonous substance that discourages predators from swallowing them!
Their call has a long, dry trill that varies in pitch that sounds like “whrrrrrrrrrrr” or “wheeeeeeee”, typically given by males in shallow water.
This close relative of the American Robin prefers mature deciduous and mixed forests with a dense shrub layer for nesting.
Their song a is a three-part, flutelike song produced by males to defend territories and attract mates. The second part of the song is the most distinctive sounding “eeohlay.” Males can sing many different song types by creating different combinations of song parts. Listen to the recording to hear how they do it.
Although small in stature, this tiny tree frog is very loud and full call choruses can be heard from over a kilometer away!
Their loud, high-pitched “peep” is one of the first signs of spring each year. It also produces a faster, high-pitch trill, “pee-ee-ee-ee”, that is reminiscent of a Gray Treefrog.
This common species can be found in every Canadian province and territory and prefers wet areas with lots of thick vegetation for breeding. The males have a distinctive black face mask that give them a robber-like appearance, similar to a raccoon.
Their song has a distinctive “wich-i-ty- wich-i-ty – wich-i-ty”. The call is a sharp “tchat’ or “schick” given throughout the year by box sexes, often in response to approaching predators.
This hardy frog has specialized chemicals in its body that allow it to literally freeze solid over the winter. It breeds in temporary woodland ponds called vernal pools, often when there is still ice on the water! Their call is a series of low-pitch quacks and croaks: “quorck quork quorck”. Wood Frogs only call for a few weeks each year, sometimes as early as March.
Get familiar with local animals! Listen to the calls with your family and see if they can match it to the right species. Share your learnings with us on social media – be sure to tag CVC and use the hashtag #CreatureCalls.
Data like recording creature calls helps us conserve and protect so many amazing species in the Credit River Watershed. Learn more about the Integrated Watershed Monitoring Program.
Credit Valley Conservation continues to monitor latest COVID-19 developments and is taking steps to keep our communities, vendors and staff safe. Please regularly visit our CVC website at cvc.ca for the most up-to-date event and service information.
By CVC’s Meagan Ruffini, Marketing and Communications Associate