Another season of amphibian migration well underway

We’re entering my favorite time of year early in 2020. Warm temperatures in February have led to our first amphibian migrations about 3-4 weeks ahead of schedule. This year, I’m delighted to be a part of the Town of Bedford’s Conservation Board, and have connected with like-minded people who are also happy to go out and help the frogs. The last two years I’ve been driving around in the dark by myself, squinting through the rain! Occasionally I pressed my dear husband into service, but he is more than happy that I’ve found others to share my enthusiasm with.

Last Tuesday, February 25, I felt like conditions were right to see some movement, but I hadn’t yet heard anything from DEC’s Amphibian Migrations and Road Crossings Project, and it just felt so early! It was a somewhat last minute call to action and I found myself again on my own in the dark. This year, we’ve organized the town into zones and flagged what look like potential sites to investigate based on our habitat map. I was able to hit eight different targeted areas over two plus hours. Most had a frog or two that had been run over, and maybe one more trying to cross. Unfortunately I did find a site with dozens of dead frogs, and helped as many as I could get to safety.

Wood frog

In the week since, I’ve trained some interested people outside the board, and we had about nine folks out and about looking for amphibians last night. Now we know about another high traffic area, which sadly had a lot of mortality this time. But each bit of information helps, and with more data and more hands, we can plan to post volunteers in these areas and help reduce the carnage in future migration events.

Interestingly, last week I saw mostly wood frogs, and wondered if the peepers were just the slightest bit behind them in terms of getting the urge to move. Last night the trend was reversed–more peepers than wood frogs. I’m curious to find out if this same spot will have more amphibians next time (Friday?) or if most have completed their journey over these two Tuesdays.

As always, be vigilant on warmish, rainy, early spring nights. Please sign up for info from DEC if you want to get involved (or contact me directly if you live in Bedford). And even if you don’t want to don a stylish reflective vest and headlamp to play crossing guard, try to minimize your travel on these nights and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife just trying to do their thing.

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