Discover Nature NotesMore posts

SPRINGing To Life

Feb 26, 2018

When March winds roar like a lion, the sights and sounds of spring are drawing near.

Wildlife spring into action.  Birds fill the crisp air with courtship tunes in search of a mate.  Flashes of color pop in trees and grasslands.  Spring peepers and chorus frogs serenade through early spring rains.  Skunks are looking for other skunks and wood ducks check waterside trees for a place to raise a family.  Even on the coldest mornings, male prairie-chickens gather on booming grounds to stamp their feet and call to hens listening from the fields and prairies.  In backyards, male house sparrows become aggressive as they compete for females and male cardinals sing daily from the treetops.

Most animals don’t use warm weather as a courtship trigger.  Instead, the longer days, or internal cues like the loss of body fat, let them know the time has come to produce young.  Watch spring come alive with color and sound in your backyard and Missouri’s great outdoors.

spring_peeper.jpg

Spring Peeper
Spring Peeper
Spring peeper at full croak.

wood ducks.jpg

wood ducks
wood ducks
MDC’s annual Wood Duck Nest Box Day at Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area provides opportunity to work with experts and learn how to provide quality brood-rearing habitat. Shown here is a female wood duck with her brood.

Prairie Chickens - AskMDC

These colorful birds have a unique courtship dance that is a real foot stomper. But the ritual is becoming a rare site in the state.
These colorful birds have a unique courtship dance that is a real foot stomper. But the ritual is becoming a rare site in the state.

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