I visit the shallows of certain ponds and wetlands in, and bordering, woods in southeastern Pennsylvania a couple evenings every April.

I sit by those shallows in increasing darkness and listen to the wild, almost incessant, chorusing of male spring peepers, a kind of small frog. I even imagine the peepers’ charming, primordial concerts transporting me back millions of years to the age of amphibians.            

The loud, simple peeping of many male peepers, in each of several shallows, pulses on and on through the night and on rainy days. Those ancient, unchanged concerts attract female peepers to males in the shallows to spawn scores of eggs per female. Many of those eggs soon hatch into tiny, brown tadpoles that ingest aquatic vegetation.

Many of the ear-splitting evening dins of male peepers are accompanied by the background music of bugling Canada geese, the singing of American robins, and the melodious trilling of American toads. Those creatures, along with peeper concerts, add to our enjoyment of the soft, warm charms and beauties of April evenings.    

Some people, including myself, look forward to listening to and enjoying the wild, overwhelming concerts of spring peepers. That ageless peeping is inspiring to hear on lovely April evenings and into the night.

Every peep is caused by each male peeper bulging his throat while his mouth is shut. The enlarged throat amplifies the sound made by each love-struck male peeper.  

I’ve seen only a few peepers in my lifetime because they are tan, have 1-inch bodies, and are well camouflaged in the wetland vegetation they live among while consuming small invertebrates through the warmer months.

Listen for the wild, ageless dins of male spring peepers this April in local, wooded bottomlands. Or be content to know those primordial concerts still exist after many millions of years. And it’s nice to know that peeping peepers are another herald of spring! 


Clyde McMillan-Gamber is a retired Lancaster County Parks naturalist.

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