“Hi Ya, Hyla!
A tree frog on a window pane poses a dilemma when a five year old is involved: adhere to the principle of observational non-interference or indulge one’s inner 5 year old and pick it up?
We picked it up. And built it a little house. And watched it while we had an after school snack.
This frog looked like an unusually lifelike paperweight as it warmed itself on the window pane. It had the distinctive orange-yellow markings on the undersides of its back legs that narrowed it down to a Cope’s Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis) or Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor). Since we live within the overlapping edges of their territories only the difference in their calls would have settled the matter and this frog was in silent meditation. With a wetland in one direction and the James River in the other, we do encounter an occasional frog, but without the proper habitat on our own property we’re much more accustomed to Fowler’s Toads. My son noticed the key differences between the two before I could even point them out to him. Best of all wewitnessed the gradual, subtle shift in color from a silvery putty hue when we first spotted our friend on the sunny glass to a darker grey as it enjoyed the water dish when the characteristic star pattern on its back also appeared more prominently.
In the time it took to glance away the frog was gone. Or so we thought until I tentatively lifted the roof of our improvisational amphibian house. There it sat, rewarding our efforts. And there we left it.