April 17, 2023

Big night!

Tonight is going to be a rainy late April night between 40 and 50 degrees... do you know what that means? BIG NIGHT! Amphibians are on the move!

Every spring, salamanders, wood frogs, spring peepers and other amphibian species make their way out of hibernation to their nearest vernal pool where they will mate and lay eggs. Amphibians are *wildly* important to the health of our forests. Did you know that the biomass of salamanders in Northern forests is greater than that of all the breeding birds and small mammals combined?? They are a key part of the food web and our local ecosystems.

This migration can be a vulnerable time for these important species. Paved, busy roads crisscrossing the landscape sometimes separate the amphibians from their destination in nearby forests or wetlands, putting them at risk of being run over by cars. This is one of the reasons contiguous, forested landscapes are so important!

Some tips from Maine Big Night - Amphibian Migration Monitoring if you're interested in getting out to witness the phenomenon:

- The best crossings occur in forested and wetland areas. We recommend looking on roads with surrounding forests and small wetlands (small ponds, vernal pools, marshes, etc.). Moving water, large lakes, fields, and developed areas often reduce migrations or may have none at all.

- Listen for Spring Peeper and Wood Frog calls. They will often indicate the destination for migrating amphibians; roads close by are often crossing points.

- Use iNaturalist or another community science platform to find sightings of species such as Wood Frog, Spotted Salamander, or Blue-spotted Salamander near you.

- SAFETY FIRST! Please wear reflective clothing and avoid busy roads.

Learn more about Big Night and vernal pools here: https://www.vernalpools.me/

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