Discover Nature Notes

Showy and Subtle Tree Flowers

Mar 06, 2017

Some are showy, some are not.  To attract insects for pollination, some tree flowers put on a colorful spring show.  Tree flowers pollinated by wind are more plain and subtle.  Dogwoods and redbuds are more striking, but oaks, maples, elms and other trees also bloom in the spring.  Learn about flowering trees in this week's Discover Nature Note.

Flowers on oak tree

The Bird with the Sky on Its Back

Feb 27, 2017

The bluebird is in the house! Our Missouri state bird is known for its vivid blue coloring. They are seen more often in rural areas in open grasslands with scattered trees or fences. Their populations have done well in our state with help from people who put up special nest boxes for them to raise their young. Learn more about bluebirds and how you can build a nest box in this week's Discover Nature Note.

The Game of Life

Feb 20, 2017

Survivor, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy are popular game shows, but in our backyards the struggle for survival and beating the odds is a challenging reality for many species of wildlife.  Learn how animal populations rise and fall through the seasons in Missouri in this week's Discover Nature Note.

Eastern Bluebird

Salamander Sway for Valentines Day

Feb 13, 2017

The song "Sway," first made popular by Dean Martin, would choreograph well with the ritual water dance of spotted salamanders. Shortly after Valentine's Day on the first warm rains of late winter/early spring, hundreds will gather in ponds and sway and swim with a marimba type rhythm. It can look like a flash mob during this brief window of their breeding season. Learn more about spotted salamanders in this week's Discover Nature Note. -- Peg@MDC

Spotted Salamander

The Daylight Owl

Feb 06, 2017

Most owls are active at night, but short-eared owls and their amazing aerial displays can be seen during daylight hours.  You can find them soaring low to the ground during winter in open fields, grasslands and prairies near woods.  Experience the world of short-eared owls in this week's Discover Nature Note.

Short-Eared Owl

Groundhog Day

Jan 30, 2017

Famous for weather forecasting, groundhogs are also excellent homebuilders.

Groundhog weather cartoon

The Decomposers

Jan 23, 2017

Billions of small organisms make up nature's clean-up crew. Learn more in this week's Discover Nature Note.


Waxing Sideways

Jan 17, 2017

Wax on, wax off  may describe the berry side hop performed by Cedar Waxwings.  Learn more about this unique mating ritual in this week's Discover Nature Note.

Cedar Waxwing

The Hibernators

Jan 09, 2017

See how Missouri's hibernators sleep through winter, or parts of it, in this week's Discover Nature Note.

Black Bear Sow with her Cubs

The Tiny Birds That Could

Jan 02, 2017

Ever wonder how birds stay warm in the winter.  Find out in this week's Discover Nature Note.



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