EarthDesk Sunday: The Pace Green Frog Banjo Chorale; Photo by Angelo Spillo
Photo by Angelo Spillo
The guttural song of amphibian banjos is a familiar sound to anyone who has walked the Dyson College Nature Center trail of a warm September evening. It is our green frogs vocalizing, mainly the males claiming their turf and calling out for attention — no surprise there. Green frogs (Raina clamitans) are common in the eastern United States, residing in wetlands and the edges of streams and ponds. Here is how Music of Nature describes their call (listen as well to the sound file below):
The advertisement (and territorial) call is an explosive, throaty gunk! that resembles the sound made by plucking a loose banjo string. Calls are usually delivered in a short series, dropping slightly in pitch and volume from beginning to end: GUNK!-Gunk!-gunk! During an encounter, a male may give a stuttering series of guttural notes that have a Bullfrog-like quality, followed by a sharp staccato note. An abrupt iCUP! may also be given, and frightened individuals often squeak or chirp when leaping into water..
The arresting portrait above, which first appeared in the photo blog Pace Takes New York, was captured by Center director Angelo Spillo, at the ready with his camera when a green frog peeked its head from a vernal pool near the Center trail. The song of the Pace green frogs is an aural prompt that reminds us we share our beautiful campus with more than the fellow humans whom we trek alongside on our way to work and class. The sound file below, courtesy of Metro Atlanta’s Amphibian Species Accounts, is an excellent cover version of the Pace green frog banjo chorale: