Lessons from Travels: Isle Royale Spring Peepers

by Carl Strang

One of my favorite adventures was a solo sea kayak circumnavigation of Isle Royale in 1996. Islands have relatively few species, and this helped me to solve a puzzle that had bothered me for several years. I had been hearing a strange animal sound in late summers into autumns, a high-pitched intermittent call that sounded vaguely cricket- or frog-like. I hadn’t heard it in DuPage County, but in a variety of locations in the eastern U.S. I patiently had stalked these mystery animals several times without success. Then I found I was hearing the calls on Isle Royale. I also was seeing numbers of spring peepers.

Spring peeper on Isle Royale. The bunchberry is an indicator of the northern Lake Superior location.

Spring peeper on Isle Royale. The bunchberry is an indicator of the northern Lake Superior location.

Finally my brain made a testable connection. I knew a couple peeper locations in DuPage, and realized I had not gone into them late in the season. When I went there after returning from Isle Royale I heard the sounds. So that was the source of the sound, but I still have not figured out nor have I found an enlightening reference, which would explain why a spring peeper would peep in the autumn.



  1. nickonnature said,

    January 27, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Very interesting findings! I too often hear peeps late in the summer or fall that resemble spring peepers, but like you I never considered them as a culprit because it just didn’t make sense. My qoperty is very wet and muddy and always has lots of spring peepers in the spring, so they could certainly be the answer. I’ll have to pay more attention to it this year.

    • natureinquiries said,

      January 28, 2013 at 7:04 am

      Hi, Nick, good to hear from you.

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