Gray Treefrogs: The little frog with the very big voice


A Gray Tree frog that has matched the color of 'his'  wren box watches the author.

A Gray Treefrog that has matched the color of ‘his’ wren box watches the author.

The Eastern Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor) is the chameleon of frogs. They are masters of camouflage with the ability to change colors in seconds. Their large sticky toe pads enable them to hop up tree bark for a night of hunting or scale glass windows with ease. Then they wait in full stealth mode for bugs and beetles drawn to porch lights. On humid nights and sultry days of July the song of this frog in the trees is unmistakable. Some consider the song a loud, almost annoying and insect-like trill. While others love the magical melody of this pudgy-appearing frog, that’s very much at home in Oakland County. Consider me among the latter.

The song of the male gray treefrog is visible as well as audible. The large vocal sac under the throat inflates with air and then deflates rapidly creating music that is unforgettable.

Eastern Gray Treefrogs average length is two inches long. Colors range from a mossy green, to a bright green, to brownish hues and even shades of gray! Their colors can change rapidly to suit their background. They also have a bright yellowish orange color on the inside on their thighs. Some naturalists believe the leg stripe can confuse predators, and they have many predators. The predator list includes herons, egrets, snakes, raccoons, skunks, opossums and various other animals. It all depends on the frog’s location and the time of the day. Although considered a nocturnal species, the evidence is overwhelming that treefrogs are also active during the day. The evidence: singing in daylight.


Gray treefrogs are habitat specialists, requiring specific habitats to survive and thrive. Oakland County has many lakes, ponds, wild land, and forested lands that suit their needs. They live in forested areas adjacent to or near permanent bodies of water, as water is needed for breeding. A late afternoon walk on a summer day after a thunderstorm at Addison Oaks, Highland Oaks, Independence Oaks, Orion Oaks, Springfield Oaks or Rose Oaks county parks is sure to bring amazing listening opportunities. But do not go to the ponds to look for or listen to these frogs. They will not be in the water among the green frogs and bullfrogs. They will be among the leafy branches of oak trees or on shrubs near wetlands. When the humidity is high, the bugs are plentiful and for the frogs, the living is good.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Text and photos by Jonathan Schechter, Nature Education Writer for Oakland County Parks.  Visit DestinationOakland for details on all 13 Oakland County Parks.


Elite 40 Under 40 2015 – Forum 3


This morning, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson chatted with members of the 2015 Elite 40 Under 40, including one from the 2014 class, at the third Elite 40 Forum. The County Executive enjoys hosting smaller groups so the members can get to know one another, and the county as well, on a less formal and more intimate scale. In attendance were: Andrew Chmielewski, Mitten Crate & Dave’s Sweet Tooth; Brandon Curry, Federal-Mogul Holdings Corporation; Gregg Garrett, CGS Advisors, LLC; Paul Mersino, Butzel Long; Mike Roth, National Technology Management; and Susan Kruger, Soar Learning, Inc. Continue reading

Oakland County Fair 2015

Visit the 2015 Oakland County Fair!

The 2015 Oakland County 4-H Fair runs from July 3-12 at the Springfield Oaks County Park fairgrounds in Davisburg, located at 12451 Andersonville Road. Along with the traditional 4-H displays and activities, you can enjoy many family friendly activities, such as pig racing, a lumberjack show, a performing circus, hands on petting zoo and much more. Some of the popular nightly grandstand events include the Night of Destruction (demo derby), a rodeo, monster trucks and fireworks. In the tradition of the original Michigan State Fair, the Oakland County Fair will be offering a bottomless cup of chocolate milk for fifty cents. (Unlimited refills are free only with the original cup).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Continue reading

The Best Treat for your Dog! A Trip to an Oakland County Dog Park!

A dog park is the the perfect place to get your dog some exercise and let your pup socialize with his or her own kind. It’s a great place for people to socialize too. After all, everyone who’s at the dog park has something in common: the love of dogs! Oakland County Parks offers three dogs parks for you and your pooch to enjoy. What are you waiting for? Show your dog some love and head to an Oakland County Dog Park today!

Continue reading

Gettin’ Ready for Wild Summer Nights at the Zoo

Wild Summer Nights logo with silhouette band

Wild Summer Nights
concerts return to the Detroit Zoo on Wednesday nights during July and August. Concerts take place in the Zoo’s Main Picnic Grove from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Bring a blanket and sit back and enjoy a variety of local bands playing a wide selection of musical styles. Food, snacks, beer, wine and soft drinks are available for purchase from Zoo concessions.

The rest of the Zoo remains open until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays during the concert series. For those who prefer to walk around in the early evening, you might just see what some of the animals do after closing hours! Continue reading