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Naturalist Notebook

Reviews and journal entries inspired by nature in West Central Illinois.
AFrogsLife

A Frog's Life


Over the years, I have tried to provide good habitats for the animals that live alongside me on this land. Despite my efforts though it seems that some of these creatures prefer to dwell in or on the house that I built for myself! They must find it as comfortable as I do.

For the past couple of years, the tree frog population has seemed to be on the uptick here. Their loud nightly choruses are hard to ignore and now several have taken up residence on my back deck. My husband and I like to sit out on the deck at night and talk but when all the tree frogs start singing we can't hear each other! Not that I mind as I am very glad to know they are thriving here.

Several years ago, this was not the case as frog populations, in general, seemed to be declining. We rarely heard a tree frog or saw a frog in the creek. There was a time when we walked through the tall grass along the creek and frogs would jump out from everywhere. Then there seemed to be nothing at all. Did not even see a frog or tadpole in the water. This was a concern to me for I had read that frogs were possibly a measure of water quality. What I actually came to learn is that in years when the creek had several flooding events, the frog's habitat was greatly disturbed resulting in their absence. For the past 2-3 years, there haven't been any major flooding episodes and the water level has been relatively shallow for extended times. This has allowed for tadpole development once again and the return of many species of frogs to the property. This is part of the natural ebb and flow of things in nature but I am thankful the frogs are back again this year.

One of the little gray tree frogs on the back deck got into a bit of trouble last year when it decided to make our BBQ grill it's home. Every time I turned on the grill to cook, it narrowly escaped being toasted! To remedy this I came up with the idea of building the frog its own house near the grill but at a safe distance from the heat. My husband constructed a small wooden enclosure with an opening where the frog could come and go. It looked slightly like the lid of the grill. We mounted it on the deck railing close to the grill and waited, hoping the little frog would find it on its own. To our amazement one morning there was the frog on the porch of its own house and he ducked inside when we got too close. This year there have been several tree frogs that have tried out the house. It seems to be attractive to them as they can hide in it during the day then come out at night to feed close by.

It has been quite fun to observe these creatures up close and learn about their lives. I feel lucky they chose to live with me!

Rose Moore – Master Naturalist – June 2018

Today's post was written by Rose Moore. Rose is a Certified Master Naturalist serving Henderson, Knox, McDonough & Warren Counties. She enjoys exploring the natural world around her and recording the experiences in art and writing.


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