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West Virginia Wildlife
Sounds Of Spring
Patrick McMurtry Spring Has A Sound All Its Own

April 24, 2013
Reporter: Patrick McMurtry
Videographer: Brad Rice


This has been a very weird last few months. Old Man Winter didn't want to leave, and we got a very late spring. While that throws our outdoor plans out of whack, it also has an effect on the sights and sounds of spring.

Dr. Tom Pauley with Marshall University describes the sights and sounds that signal spring is here.

"The first thing we hear in the wetlands to know spring is here is the wood frogs; they are the harbinger of spring. They actually start in February or March, very early, and this wetland is just loaded with them. They sound like ducks clucking. About the same time, spring peepers follow and then leopard frogs; this is the biggest population of them in the state," Pauley said.

We are in the Greenbottom wetlands. It has as diverse a population of wildlife as just about anywhere in the state. As Pauley said, there are plenty of frogs here, but there are other good signs spring has sprung at Greenbottom.

"The migration of birds -- we can expect many birds to start moving in and the water fowl here. Some early spring songbirds -- red wing blackbirds just arrived in the last two weeks. You can hear them sing now; they are abundant here. Some birds stay here year- round, but they have a winter call and then they start their mating call like the chickadee." Pauley said.

This place is packed with birds and frogs, you can see and hear them all over. But there is another sign of spring you probably won't see and definitely won't hear.

"This is the earliest snake to come out in the spring; it would be another spring indicator. They come out in February and March. They can tolerate cold temperatures better than any snake in the state. For that reason, they're at Spruce Knob and Greenbottom." Pauley said.

The garter snakes are out looking for frogs to eat, and the frogs feed on insects that come out this time of year. Spring is here folks, enjoy.

LEARN MORE at the W. Va. DNR


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