Discover Nature NotesMore posts

Red, White, and Blue in Nature

Jul 02, 2018

This week, in honor of Independence Day, we celebrate red, white and blue in nature.

Cardinal redbirds are seen all year, but cardinal flowers bloom a fiery red in late summer, and attract hummingbirds, butterflies and humans. These native plants are often found near water.

American white pelicans are a massive bird with a snowy white body. These ancient looking flyers will arrive in wetlands in August. The bald eagle is our patriotic symbol. Adults sport the familiar, white-feathered head.

Our springs provide deep blue waters with natural cooling on hot summer days. If you've never been to a natural spring, summer is a great time to visit. Blue catfish and bluegill are popular summer fish.

And showing off red, white and blue in its head and neck is the wild turkey. Fitting colors for an animal that Benjamin Franklin had proposed to be our national symbol. He thought the turkey more dignified than the scavenging eagle.

You can celebrate this year’s 4th of July by seeing how many things in nature you can spot that are red, white and blue. Watch the video below to get you started. And scroll through the pictures to see more.

The Cardinal Way

  • Cardinals can be found in nearly every hedge, thicket, or berry patch during the summer whether in rural areas, towns, or suburbs.
  • Sometimes people see bald-headed cardinals, cardinals without feathers on their heads. This condition usually is reported in summer and fall, when cardinals are molting, and new feathers usually grow in soon after.
  • Redbirds sing from early February through August. Males whistle from the tops of saplings and often, big trees.
  • Cardinals nest in thickets, dense shrubs, and undergrowth, laying 3–4 eggs in a nest built of stems, twigs, bark, grass, and paper, lined with fine grass and hair. Incubation lasts 12–13 days, and the young are fledged in 9–10 days. There are usually two broods a year, though up to four are possible.
  • Cardinals forage on the ground or in shrubs for insects, spiders, seeds, fruits, and berries. The bird is a frequent visitor to bird feeders for sunflower and other seeds.

Learn more about cardinals by visiting MDC’s website.

big_spring_0074.jpg

Water flowing around mossy green rocks at Big Spring.
Big Spring
Big Spring Natural Area. Clear blue water flows into a creek at Van Buren, MO.

Discover Red, White and Blue in Nature

Discover Red, White and Blue in Nature
Discover Red, White and Blue in Nature

White Pelicans -- AskMDC

Here's a bird you might expect to see along the Gulf coast. But during migrating seasons, you might catch a glimpse of them here in Missouri.
Here's a bird you might expect to see along the Gulf coast. But during migrating seasons, you might catch a glimpse of them here in Missouri.

051410 blue spring-34.jpg

Blue Spring
With a depth over 300 feet, Blue Spring is Missouri's deepest.

Recent Posts

Photo of a gravid Mississippi grass shrimp in an aquarium.

Missouri's Freshwater Shrimp

Aug 13, 2018

Shrimp in Missouri, Who Knew?: Two types of freshwater shrimp can be found in Missouri's lakes and rivers. One is common and one is rare. The Mississippi Grass shrimp is small and transparent. The female pictured is carrying her eggs attached to swimmerets beneath her abdomen. The Ohio shrimp are larger and were harvested along the Mississippi river for food in the 1800's. They are rare today. Missouri's freshwater shrimp are important to fish and other wildlife and may live in the waters where you fish and boat. Learn more about them in this week's Discover Nature Note.

common eastern bumblebee

Pollinator Power

Aug 06, 2018

OUR NEED FOR BEES:  Without them, our produce aisles would be mostly bare. With less of them, harvest sizes will shrink and prices will soar.  Bees are essential for many of the foods we eat and nutrients we need.  Native bumblebees are intentional pollinators that do the most important work.  Learn more about bees, how you can help, and the amazing diversity we have in St. Louis in this week's Discover Nature Note. (Pictured:  Common Eastern Bumblebee)

Great Horned Owl

Theater in the WILD

Jul 30, 2018

Theater in the Wild: Some of the biggest stars have graced its stage, and swallowed our bugs while singing, but often nature and wildlife have been an inspiring and entertaining part of the show. The Muny opera took shape 100 years ago between two giant oak trees in a natural bowl in Forest Park in St. Louis. Ol' man River Des Peres which runs through it caused early trouble in river city with a flood that washed the orchestra's instruments as far away as Carondelet.

Today, the river runs behind and below the theater offering audiences a chance to view wetland species. The trees surrounding the stage are part of the design for several musicals and are looked after with care. Squirrels, possums or raccoons may appear climbing lighting grids or wandering onto the stage at any moment during a show.

Just as in nature, there are free sets to enjoy the show in the nation's largest, greenest outdoor theater in one of our country's biggest urban parks. Learn more about Forest Park and nature's show in this week's Discover Nature Note.

Archive

Field Guide

Discovering nature from A-Z is one click away

Recipes

You had fun hunting, catching or gathering your quarry—now have more fun cooking and eating it.
Check out the recipes