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Amphibians are on the Move: Prepare for Big Night!

Things are starting to spring, and even sing! We often look to the skies as birds return to Maine in spring, and we start hearing bird songs. But let’s remember to look down as well as up, and listen for other sounds like the calls of Spring Peepers! Maine’s incredible reptiles and amphibians, or “herps” as we affectionately call the subjects of herpetology, have survived another tough Maine winter thanks to incredible adaptations over millennia.

Now, as water bodies thaw and nighttime low temperatures rise, the frogs, salamanders, and turtles that have overwintered around us will feel the urge to return to the vernal pool, pond, or lake where they were spawned. That trip, sometimes across a mile of dry land, is always perilous for aquatic animals, and many will also encounter roads and the hazards they present. Read more about vernal pools here >

Big Night, or more often Nights, is when there is a large spike in the numbers of amphibians on the move, usually on the first warm rainy night in late March or early April. On these nights, all of us can experience this phenomenon AND help these native critters thrive.

Mark these dates:

March 25, Monday, 6:30 pm: Roads, Rain, and a Couple Thousand Amphibians: Call it a Big Night!
Greg LeClair, founder of the Maine Big Night project, a community science project to track Maine’s amphibian migration, will be at Fields Pond Audubon Center in Holden to present an overview of Big Night and how people can be involved in monitoring and identifying critical areas. Register for this free program here > There is a hybrid option (the program will also be broadcast over Zoom).

March 28, Thursday, 6 pm: “Herp” Tales: Lessons from Maine’s Reptiles and Amphibians
Prepare for Big Night and beyond with this chance to learn about reptile and amphibian ecology and human impacts on “herps” this time of year from Center for Wildlife staff and some of the animals in their care, who will share the screen! Register for this free webinar here >

Kits: Maine Audubon is a Kit Host for Big Night. Kits include species ID cards, headlamps, safety vests, and clipboards. You can sign out a kit to borrow for the season.
Falmouth: Contact or visit the Visitor Center at Gilsland Farm.
Holden: Contact or visit the Fields Pond Audubon Center.

More info is available at to learn how to train to be a volunteer data collector.