May 1, 2009

Spring Comes to the UP - FINALLY!!!!!

Well, there are two SURE signs that spring has come to the Upper Peninsula in Michigan. One is that distictive sound of the Spring Peepers! Last night for the first time, I heard the familiar sound of the peepers in the cold night air. It was thrilling!!! The local wildlife here are much better predictors of the weather than our local weatherman. They never seem to be fooled into coming home to soon or leaving too early.

The Spring Peepers, for those of you who aren't familiar with them, are small brown tree frogs that have an excruciatingly high pitched "chirp". Many people have actually heard these tiny harbingers of Spring, but don't know what they look like.

Here's a link to hear the spring peepers singing!

The spring peeper produces glucose, or sugar, and "freezes" itself for the winter. In winter, peepers' bodies freeze--but their cells don't rupture because of the concentrated sugars in them. These sugars act as a kind of natural anti-freeze.

Their Latin name, Pseudacris crucifer, was chosen due for the cross, or 'crucifix' located on the back of this species.

I look forward to the males wooing the females with their "jingle bells" chorus every year. That way I know that spring is finally on its way and soon I'll be digging in the dirt!

So for those of you in the eastern portion of the U. S. get away from the city noises, someplace where there's water and trees and listen for the peepers!

Valere!!! (Be Well!!!)