Big Night!

Every spring, an exciting ecological spectacle takes place – what’s known as a “Big Night”.

This refers to the first evening rain of the spring season when temperatures have warmed enough to free ditches, ponds, and vernal pools of ice. Amphibians begin their migration in vast numbers from where they spent the winter to where they will mate and reproduce.

While many of these small and stealthy travelers will go unnoticed while making their journey, where amphibians have to cross roadways to reach their destination, humans are able to observe the mass migration. On rainy nights every spring season, wood frogs, spring peepers and spotted salamanders can be seen crossing the road to reach a suitable wet place to mate and reproduce on the other side.

By driving slowly and looking for amphibians crossing the road, you can help prevent casualties and assist in helping frogs and salamanders reach their destination, ultimately supporting local amphibian populations in peril.

If you would like to learn more about what you can do to help during the upcoming migration this spring, visit our friends at Maine Audubon who will be holding a virtual Big Night at the end of March and share more information about how you can help protect one of nature’s long standing migrations that takes place in your backyard.

About 40% of amphibian species are currently facing extinction, and human development and disruption of wetland habitat greatly increases risks to their population numbers, so this spring season when it’s rainy at night, take a walk to a pond or wet area near you and look to see who is crossing the road!

For more resources on how to help amphibians safely cross the road during spring migration, visit the Big Night Maine website and to learn about more ways that you can help conserve Maine’s amphibians throughout the rest of the year, visit the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.