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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.

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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.

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

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