Get Outside

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From Missouri Conservationist: February 2020

Ways to connect with nature.

Robins Return

Many American robins spend the winter in Missouri, while others head south when berries and other foods disappear. Look for large flocks returning to the Show-Me State around the third week of February. You can help Journey North track their migration at

St. Louis Region: Maple Sugaring

Saturday, Feb. 15 • 9:30–11 a.m. Rockwoods Reservation 2751 Glencoe Road, Wildwood, MO 63038 Registration required. Call 888-283-0364 or register online at by Feb. 14. All ages.

It’s time to tap the trees! Make maple syrup fun for your family, even with just one or two trees at home. Learn about sugar maple trees, how to tap trees, and turn sap into syrup. The entire program will be outdoors, so please dress for the weather.

Air Show

From February through March, American woodcocks perform amazing dances in midair to attract mates. To see a performance, head to a wet pasture, woodland, or cemetery at sundown and listen for a male woodcock’s call: “peent.”

When the peenting stops, scan the sky. You might see the lovestruck male spiraling high into the air. This is just the start of his dance.

Southwest Region: Bluebird Workshop

Saturday, Feb. 15 • 10 a.m.–noon Shepherd of the Hills Conservation Center 483 Hatchery Road, Branson, MO 65616 Registration required. Call 888-283-0364 or register online at by Feb. 15. All ages

Join us to learn more about Missouri’s state bird. We will also build 12 bluebird nest boxes. Each family will work together to build one box to take home. Bring a hammer.

Tree ID

February can be a good time to take a walk in the woods and learn about Missouri’s wide variety of trees. For instance: persimmon bark is blocky hackberry bark is bumpy river birch bark peels like paper

For more information about trees, visit

Call of the Wild

We often associate February with love. After all, Valentine’s Day is Feb. 14. So, it’s no surprise that wildlife is also looking for love this time of year. Listen for mating calls from bobcats, foxes, raccoons, woodcocks, and other critters, especially at night.

Winter Adventures

Sights and sounds of nature are distinct in winter, which makes it a perfect time to get outside.

  • Embark on a winter hike
  • Search for animal tracks, especially after a snowfall
  • Capture images of wildlife
  • Look for bald eagles along Missouri’s big waterways
  • Identify trees by their bark pattern

Adventures are closer than you think. Download the MO Outdoors app today.

Natural Events to See This Month

Here’s what’s going on in the natural world.

  • Least shrews are born
  • Northern pintails and mallards migrate north
  • Tiger salamanders begin courting
  • Harbinger of spring and Ozark witch-hazel bloom

Find more events in your area at

This Issue's Staff

Magazine Manager - Stephanie Thurber

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld

Associate Editor - Larry Archer

Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek

Art Director - Cliff White

Designer - Les Fortenberry
Designer - Marci Porter

Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner

Circulation - Laura Scheuler