Outdoors blog

MONDAY, APRIL 30, 2012, 8:42 A.M.

Chorus frogs are nature’s windbags

A boreal chorus frog calling. (Jaime Johnson)
A boreal chorus frog calling. (Jaime Johnson)

WILDLIFE -- The ponds at the Dishman Hills Natural Area are easy to find this time of year, since hikers can often hear them long before they see them.   Chorus frogs are in full song.

Outdoor photographers Jaime and Lisa Johnson had a similar experience near their Lincoln, Mont., home recently. The didn't just settle for listing to the chorus frogs call.  They made the very cool photo above to show how the little buggers make noise that can be heard for a long way off.    Here's Jaime's comment:

While on a hike this weekend, we happened upon a small lake. Actually, the reason we found the lake was we heard it. As we approached, it sounded like a thousand bull frogs croaking at the same time. It was almost deafening! When we got to the edge of the water, it all stopped. Nothing but silence.
We sat there for about a half hour and then one started croaking again, then two, then three…. Pretty soon hundreds were going at one time. Lisa and I were split up both one different sides of the lake looking for the frogs. We were frustrated… they were invisible! Finally, after about 15 more minutes we spotted one. To our surprise, all this noise from a frog that could fit on a nickel coin!
We were accepted by the frogs after the first hour, they seemed not to really care we were there. We probably sent 2 or 3 hours there and took hundreds of images – only looked at a few, but here are a couple to give you the idea. We’ve never seen frogs actually blow up like this before in person!

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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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