02 May 2012


Frogs. My neighbour has a charming little ornamental waterfall running beside his driveway (we live on a hill; waterfalls are an obvious choice for a landscaping feature). It's inhabited by a croaker. No, make that at least two croakers. My bedroom window faces out that way; the last few nights I haven't been able to leave the window open because the froggies have been keeping up a non-stop concert. I kid you not: non-stop, from nightfall on until the small hours of the morning - or so I presume; usually I've long closed the window before the small hours, in sheer exasperation. Not even a pillow over the ear drowns them out.

Ribbet ribbet ribbetribbet ribbet... That's what it was until a few days ago, and then a new sound got added. Now it's more like this: ribbetribbet robbet ribbet robbetribbet... I think the "robbet" one, that's the new arrival. Maybe Froggie went a-courtin', and in this case decided on an amphibian girlfriend, rather than taking up with Miss Mousie like his progenitor in the song (uh-huh). (When you stop to think about that one, the genetic makeup of their offspring is a rather interesting concept. Okay, let's not go there.)

What amazes me is how these tiny little critters can make such a racket. They might be no bigger than a few centimeters long, but their sound carries over a hundred meters or more.

So I was lying in bed last night, thinking of how charming it was to have these sounds of nature right outside my window... sigh. My current nighttime choice is between fresh air, and quiet. Fortunately it's not quite warm enough at night that I have to have to the window open, so I can still go for quiet. But mandatory window-open season will come soon - by which point, the frogs will have stopped their springtime mating call, and have handed the conductor's baton on to the crickets (screescreescreescreescree, the warmer the air, the faster the cricketing). And don't even get me started on the birds - 4:00 AM, they start their yelling in the summer! Yes, yelling. When the crickets and frogs have kept me up until past midnight, I completely lack all appreciation for the charm of a dawn chorus.

Well, actually, that's not quite true. I do appreciate the sounds of animals outside my window. It's one of the things I love about living in small-town Canada, right at the edge of the woods. I'd much, much rather be kept awake by courting frogs and woken up by yelling birds than by their equivalent in human activity or machinery.

Life, the Universe, and Froggie Singing in the Night. A sword and a pistol by his side, Uh-huh.


  1. Interesting note on the sound that frogs make ....
    apparently of all the thousands of frog species around the world, only a tiny proportion actually make the sound 'ribbitt' or similar.

    The reason we all associate this sound with them is down to holloywood - in the early days of movies and sound tracks they made libraries of sound effects that were recorded for use in films.

    The stock sound for a frog was taken from an indiginous Hollywood frog - a sound that has been used now for decades of soundtracks all over the world even when that species does not populate the area represented in the film.

    I am a mine of useless information but so pleased to be able to share that one :o)
    Thank you for your thoughtful and entertaining writings :o)

  2. Yes! I ran across that bit of trivia when I was looking up the frogs for this blurb, too! The froggies in question are Pacific Tree Frogs, and they do spread all the way up here to BC.
    I remember how amazed I was when I first heard one of those frogs in Canada; I couldn't believe how they actually sound like they're saying "ribbet" (except for that one at my neighbour's who says "robbet").
    And there's a bird out there in the mornings who goes "to-wit, to-wit"- just like that. Too fun.

  3. Yep, way better than sound than listening to the human variety doling out the same! When we lived in Texas I missed not being able to open the windows to hear the early morning bird sounds...(too hot)...but I'm an early morning person :-)

  4. Here in London it's the BIRDS that drive me mental! For the past few years, we had one that made a lovely little nest in the tree right outside our window. By the end of the summer I was ready to commit a violent act.