Why did the toad cross the road?

The abrupt change in the weather that melted lingering snowbanks and burst the forsythia into bloom also rekindled the romantic impulses of Roxborough's famed toads, 600 of whom made a surprise migratory appearance last Sunday night. You may recall that the toads (and some frogs, too) converge on the old reservoir in Upper Roxborough to mate and lay eggs each spring.

Unfortunately, they have to cross a lot of busy roads to get there, and lots don't make it. In recent years, a volunteer force organized by Lisa Levinson has come out to monitor roadways on nights when the toads are marching.

Though it's hard to anticipate (as Sunday's early showing demonstrates), experts have predicted the toad migration to run from March 26 to April 16, during which time roads will be blockaded and cars detoured around streets bordering the reservoirs, which are off Ridge Avenue between Port Royal and Summit streets.

You can sign up for shifts at www.toaddetour.com. Take it from us - it's a lot of fun walking along quiet, wooded roads in the dark, looking for toads and helping them get to safety. Really. (Be sure to bring a flashlight, sturdy shoes and rain-worthy clothing.)

Watch for other toad migrations in the Philly area. Sightings have been reported on Wise’s Mill Road, Route 23 through Valley Forge Park, and the on ramp to 76W from Belmont Ave./Green Lane. Please drive slowly and carefully on rainy spring nights near parks and waterways.

Want to learn more? Join our community fundraiser to help purchase signs & supplies for the toad migration. Meet others who care about toads and local wildlife! Vegan refreshments will be served. It's 6 to 8 p.m. this Sunday (March 28), at Worldwide Aquarium & Pet Supplies, 7043 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia.

Also new this year are family toad walks around the reservoir led by experienced naturalists from Fairmount Park and the Schuylkill Center. Learn why toads cross the road and listen for their strange calls. Walks will be held rain or shine from 6 to 7 p.m. this Friday, Saturday and April 2-3 and 9.

Meet at the corner of Lare Street & Port Royal Roads (near Ridge & Hagy’s Mill). Park on Ridge or at the ballfield on Port Royal. Remember to drive carefully and watch out for toads!