Bird Studies Canada - Ontario Region is initiating a 3 year project on the Western Chorus Frog (Pseudacris triseriata), Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis), King Rail (Rallus elegans), and Yellow Rail (Coturnicops noveboracensis). The goal is to increase our knowledge and understanding of the distribution and habitats of these rare species.
Please submit reports on locations of these species using this dataform. You will need to complete a separate form for each location.
Western Chorus Frogs are the earliest breeding frog in Ontario, breeding as early as March. Ideally the best time to hear Western Chorus Frogs is during the first few warm days of early spring, when temperatures rise just above 5° Celsius and often when there is still plenty of snow on the ground and even some ice on the water.
Don't expect to actually see Western Chorus Frogs as you are much more likely to hear them especially in wet areas containing or edged by trees or shrubs. They are especially fond of shallow fishless wetlands with vegetation, such as flooded pastures or ditches. Their call is similar to running your thumb nail over the fingers of a plastic comb, but it can sound extremely similar to a trilling call given by Spring Peepers, which is more musical and whistled in quality, so please be as careful as possible to ensure you are identifying the calls you hear correctly. You can visit this link to hear their calls http://www.trentu.ca/biology/berrill/frog_calls/chorusfrog_calls.htm.
You can also watch a video clip at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Abp-QE9ptI. Or, for more information visit Ontario's Reptile and Amphibian Atlas at http://www.ontarionature.org/protect/species/reptiles_and_amphibians/western_chorus_frog.php.
Least Bitterns, King Rails, and Yellow Rails return to their breeding territories in May. The best time to observe them is early in the morning or in the evening, when it is calm. Like Western Chorus Frogs, don’t expect to actually see these extremely secretive species. You are much more likely to hear them calling as they interact with their mates or defend their territories within dense wetland vegetation. Least Bitterns and King Rails prefer cattail-dominated marshes, whereas Yellow Rails prefer grass or sedge-dominated wetlands or flooded meadows, including flooded pastures. For more information on Least Bittern, King Rail, and Yellow Rail, especially how to identify their calls, visit http://www.allaboutbirds.org/.
If you have any questions or Comments please contact Kathy Jones the Ontario Volunteer Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-888-448-2473 ext. 124.
The Ontario Chorus Frog and Marsh Bird Species at Risk Project shares its data with the Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas Project and Ontario’s Natural Heritage Information Centre.
This project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada through the federal Department of Environment. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________