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Welcome to the Frogwatch Ontario website!

By participating in this programme you will help to increase our knowledge of frogs and toads in Ontario. Frogs and toads are a part of local biodiversity - the amazing variety of life around us. Conserving biodiversity is essential to the health of the planet and the welfare of humankind. Changes in frog and toad populations may be good indicators of changes in the wetland environments that sustain them. This is because they live "on the edge" between water and land, and are very sensitive to pollution and habitat alterations.

Not all frogs and toads call at the same time; there is a sequence of species that call as ponds thaw and warm. Monitoring the dates of frog calls allows us to:

  • Predict when frogs are likely to call
  • Watch the yearly south to north progression of frog and toad calls as warm spring temperatures move north
  • Monitor climate change over longer periods of time - as climates warm, frogs call earlier and earlier each year and remain active for longer periods of time

This north to south progression of calling dates is called PHENOLOGY, which is the study of the times that natural phenomena occur in relation to climatic conditions.

By listening to frog and toad mating calls, naturalists, schools, and community members can record and submit observations that are important in monitoring the health of Ontario's wetlands.

Jug o' rum... Jug o' rum...

peep... peep... peep...

These are some of the sounds you will hear if you're out near an Ontario wetland this spring.

Starting in late March, participants in the FrogWatch Ontario Programme will be out in full force, listening for frog and toad calls in their local wetlands. FrogWatch Ontario is an amphibian monitoring programme for people of all ages, all across Ontario. FrogWatch Observers will monitor their local wetlands (in backyards, at the cottage, or in rural areas) and listen for the amorous calls of frogs and toads. Male frogs and toads will typically start to call in March in Southern Ontario and into April/May in Northern Ontario. Spring peepers, wood frogs, and chorus frogs are usually the first species to make their presence known in the spring, but larger frogs like the bullfrog may call as late as June/July. Each frog and toad species has its own distinct call, making it easy to recognize each of Ontario's 13 species.

Frog and toad calls are dependent on the weather. As forests and wetlands warm up in the spring sunshine - the frogs and toads begin to emerge from their winter hibernation. The calls of these amphibians then can be heard in your area depending on these corresponding changes in temperature and rainfall. Frogs and toads can be first heard in areas of Southern Ontario and the Niagara Peninsula and then move gradually northward into Central and Northern Ontario. The Frogwatch Ontario database is linked to interactive maps that will display your Frogwatch observations.

Monitoring amphibian populations is one way to check the health of wetland areas. Amphibians can be used as indicator species, because they are vulnerable to changes in the environment, on land or in the water. Any changes in amphibian populations can help us understand about changes occurring in the environment. Therefore frogs and toads can be considered "barometers" of environment health.

FrogWatch Ontario Goals:

  • encourage community members of all ages to take an interest in their local environment
  • collect data on the distribution of amphibian species across the province
  • provide a fun and educational opportunity to promote the importance of wetlands and wetland species
  • contribute to data on global climate changes

You will:

  • learn to identify the calls of all Ontario's frogs and toads
  • learn about the importance of wetlands and the species that depend upon them
  • take action to protect wetlands in Ontario
  • share results with similar programmes in Canada and around the world
  • have fun with your family and friends

We need your help and want you to become a FrogWatch Ontario volunteer observer. Becoming a volunteer is very easy. All you need to do is learn the frog and toad calls, choose a location to listen for calls, record your observations, and send your observations to us via our website. Your information will be entered into a database and you will be able to view a map showing the species present at your observation location and the location of other FrogWatch volunteers in Ontario.

Happy Listening!


 
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