Something very strange has happened. I realized it the other night while I outside in the backyard during twilight. The entire yard and forest and small creek that runs next door is completely silent. Completely silent!
No crickets. No spring peepers. Nothing. I have never experienced anything like it since I’ve lived here. Besides the mosquitoes quietly whirring around us, the only forest activity was the lightning bugs, blinking their lights in utter silence.
This is my backyard. Behind that scraggly brush is a small rivulet that fills with peepers every spring. There’s no sign of my beloved musical friends there this year.
At dusk, the area is usually ablaze with sounds. The crickets usually chirp so loudly that they challenge the sounds of the busy streets. And the peepers– those tiny little frogs that exhale high-pitched raspy whistles– are gone. Everything is SILENT.
I found a video recording of peepers in the northeast. This is what my neighborhood SHOULD be sounding like:
I’m devastated!! What happened?! I have lived here for over 14 years and nothing like this has ever happened. Was it the awful April flooding that swept my critters away? Is it some kind of pesticide or toxic chemical that has been sprayed in the forest and has descended into my neighborhood? Is there some evil raccoon gang or other monstrous creatures that have eaten all my precious nightly musicians in some kind of perverse thuggery??
This spring and summer has been weird, simply weird. I feel forlorn, bereft of a very necessary ecological foundation. It just ain’t summertime without the peepers.