The Holiday Tree Thief: People have been stealing kisses under its branches for years, but in nature, mistletoe is the real thief. This parasite plant steals nutrients from trees. It also provides food and homes for birds and mammals. Discover more about mistletoe and where you can find it naturally in Missouri, in this week's Discover Nature Note.
Winter Sparrows: They're all around us in winter, eat cheap, and frequently feed on the ground. Sparrows are small birds with thick bills for cracking seeds. Sparrows are mostly brown but some have showy accents like yellow eyebrows, red caps, and white mohawks. Discover how sparrows can lively-up your backyard in the dead of winter, and hear their calls and chirps in this week's Discover Nature Notes blog.
MISSOURI'S SPICY EVERGREEN: Its aromatic wood is used for chests and closets, its oils for soaps and gin, and its high-energy berries feed hungry birds. Meet the Eastern red cedar. A shapely, spicy evergreen that is Missouri's most common and a yuletide favorite for people and wildlife. Red cedar branches provide greenery during winter and protect deer and rabbits from the wind. Learn more fun facts about red cedar trees in this week's Discover Nature Note.
CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT: Try a new outdoor adventure by joining an old holiday tradition. Several Missouri counties have openings where you can be part of Audubon's annual Christmas Bird Count, the longest-running, citizen-science effort in the U.S. Each count takes place on a single day between December 14, and January 5, from before sunrise to after sunset. New birders are often paired with experienced counters. Many groups enjoy a warm meal together after the count. Learn how you can help birds by counting them in this week's Discover Nature Notes blog.
THE THANKSGIVING TURKEY: Wild turkeys are birds simmered in American tradition. They have over 5,000 feathers, are swift runners, as well as quick flyers for short distances. Learn more about these powerful birds, how they got here, and watch a video with some tasty ways to prepare them with MDC's Kyle Lairmore and Missourinet's Bill Pollock in this week's Discover Nature Notes blog.
DABBLERS VS. DIVERS: Ducks are amazing creatures. Discover how to tell dabbling ducks from diving ducks by the way they eat, fly and look. Check out a video and photos and where you can see them in this week's Discover Nature Notes blog.
WHY HEALTHY DEER MATTER AND HOW YOU CAN HELP: Over the last 100 years, Missouri's white-tailed deer were brought back from an all-time low of 400 to more than 1.2 million today. They're one of our most valuable species for outdoor recreation, jobs and tourism. The work of keeping our deer herd healthy today is as important as the early work to restore them. Scientists work with hunters and landowners to prevent the spread of disease, especially Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), which is always fatal. Learn more about deer health, CWD, and mandatory testing in this week's Discover Nature Note.
Guess That Spooky Sound: They may have hairy legs or vampire-looking wings, but these real life critters eat the blood suckers that ruin our summer evenings and perform some amazing feats. Learn more about spiders and bats in this week's Discover Nature Note and see how many spooky sounds you can guess before each video puzzle completes.
Are You A Dabbler Or A Diver?: Do you like to skim along the surface or go deep? Learn the differences between dabbling ducks and diving ducks and how you can look for three dabblers winging their way through Missouri in this week's Discover Nature Note blog.
The Sounds Of Fall: Fall is a sensory delight. And not just for the eyes and nose. The sounds of fall are as distinct as its sights and smells. Explore the many sounds of fall ;and places to go to hear them in this week's Discover Nature Note.
Woolly Bear Myths And Facts: These fuzzy caterpillars are out crossing roads now. Why do they do that and can they really predict weather? Explore fun facts about them and learn what they turn into in this week's Discover Nature Notes blog.
Happy And Healthy Trails: Boosting brain power, balance, and muscle and joint toning are some of the many benefits from hiking. Learn where and how you can hike your way to health and happiness, as well as take a video tour on the Ozark trail in this week's Discover Nature Note blog.
NATURAL DIFFERENCES: Ever wonder why the males and females of some species look different? They may vary in size, coloration or behavior. Seasonal decorations can help some animals distinguish males from females. Learn and see more in this week's Discover Nature Note.
MISSOURI NUTS: Gather ye nuts while ye may. In Missouri, that's September and October for our finest homegrown edibles. Our top three that rank high in nutrition, economic value and taste are black walnuts, pecans and hickories. Watch a video on walnuts and try a recipe for hickory nut sandies in this week's Discover Nature Note.Pictured: Pecan leaves and nuts
Puffballs And Other Fall Mushrooms: Mushroom hunting is popular in the spring, but there are many varieties that grow in the fall. Puffballs can release thousands of powdery spores when squished. They're not the same as the classic Star Trek spores, but puffball mushrooms are edible. Learn more in this week’s Discover Nature Note.
The Marvelous Mighty Monarch: Monarch butterflies in Missouri fly to the same forest in Mexico every fall. In the spring they return. Four generations make the round trip. Their migration is truly a natural wonder and navigation marvel. They also have a mighty problem that you can help solve. Learn more in this week's Discover Nature Note.
OUTDOOR COOKING II: Try this recipe for Sweet and Sour Chicken from MDC's Campfire Cooks on your next outdoor adventure. It's a fun way to gather around the campfire and create a tasty meal. Learn more campfire tips and outdoor cooking recipes in this week's Discover Nature Notes blog.
Cooking In The Outdoors: With summer fading and Labor Day approaching, it's a great time for outdoor cooking with family and friends. Whether you're camping, or cooking out in a local park or your own backyard, food always tastes better when prepared outdoors. Check out some time-tested recipes like orange muffins, sweet and sour chicken, carp on a stick, as well as campfire tips and tricks in this week's Discover Nature Note.