Annual Amphibian Migration

It’s that time of year again! The temperatures are going up, some early spring plants and tree leaves are beginning to bud, and amphibians are coming out of hibernation and migrating to vernal pools to mate.

The migration of amphibians such as salamanders and frogs occur around this time of year every year in northeast Ohio. In fact, this migration can even be seen at a location where Valley Pkwy. is closed to vehicle traffic due to the migration in the Brecksville Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks. That’s right, you can drive there, park your car, and get out and cautiously walk on the roadway to see this migration in action! Naturalists with the Cleveland Metroparks are there educating people on what is going on.

However, exactly when this migration occurs is very dependent on the weather. It must be above 40 degrees and raining. Additionally, this migration happens after the sun sets, so in order to see it, you must bring a flashlight.

But, before you see the migration, as you are walking, you will hear all the amazing melodies that these amphibians offer. The loud constant high-pitch whistle of Spring Peepers, with the chirping of Western Chorus Frogs which mimic the sound of someone running their nails up and down the teeth of a pocket comb, mixed in with the deep soft-pitch and steady call of an American Bullfrog. To hear these sounds in person makes me marvel about what our habitat throughout Ohio was once like. It also makes me wonder why society is still destroying these kinds of habitats, and slow with restoring these habitats in areas where it is possible to do so.

As someone who is obsessed with nature, I have anxiously been monitoring the weather for the past few weeks, and so far, on the nights where it has been above 40 degrees, the weather has been dry. On the night we were hit with rain last week, temperatures were too cold. However, there are a couple days this week which look very promising! I know I will be there, and if you are intrigued in seeing this migration, I hope to safely see you there as well!

Blog author: Chris Vasco, Urban Conservationist

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