Get Outside in May

By MDC | May 1, 2021
From Missouri Conservationist: May 2021

Ways to connect with nature

Spidey Senses

Are your “spidey senses” on high alert? It may be because furrow orbweavers become conspicuous around homes this time of year. They often build their webs below the eaves of homes, under porches, and near porchlights that attract the flying insects they eat. The webs are often parallel to a wall or window, built within a few inches of the surface. Best to leave these webs and spiders be. They provide free, all-natural extermination services, reducing populations of mosquitoes, gnats, flies, and many other insects that pester us.

Mary Had a Little … Toad?

Male eastern narrow-mouthed toads chorus in the southern half of Missouri from mid-May through the rest of the summer. The call is an unusual bleating, nasal “baaaa,” which sounds like a lamb.

Native Plants

Thursday, May 20, noon–1 p.m. Virtual from Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center

Registration required at

We’ll tour the native landscape at MDC’s Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center. Guided by native landscape specialists Alix Daniel and Cydney Ross, this monthly series features a live look at native plants of interest throughout the year. This program is a partnership with Deep Roots.

Find more events in your area at

May is a ’Flutter

May skies are alive with the flutter of several varieties of butterflies. Red-spotted purples are just one example. They fly from May into October. The red-spotted purple is a stunning butterfly, even though the spots are orange, not red, and blue is more prominent than the subtle violet hues. This species is an example of a Batesian mimic — the lookalike pipevine swallowtail is toxic to its would-be predators. The red-spotted purple is palatable but has a color pattern that mimics the toxic species. Predators avoid both of them on sight.

May Gets Batty

Hoary bats, one of about 14 bat species in Missouri, are commonly seen against the night sky in May, silently flying amongst the trees and rooftops. These mammals are important as predators of agricultural pests, as pollinators, and as seed dispersers.

May Day

May Day, observed on May 1, is usually celebrated with the gift of flowers. But in Missouri, you can celebrate with flowers all month long! Wildflowers are in bloom and beautifying the landscape. Look for coneflowers, Jack-in-the-pulpits, showy lady’s slipper orchids, Missouri primroses, and many others. For help identifying your find, visit

Reconnect with Nature

Adventure can happen anywhere. Download the free MO Outdoors app for great places to go birding near you.

Natural Events to See This Month

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

  • Opossum young emerge from their mother’s pouch.
  • Ring-necked pheasant crowing at its peak.
  • Wild strawberries ripen in grasslands.
  • Bobolinks migrate and nest in northern Missouri.
  • Female crayfish carry their young on their abdomen.

This Issue's Staff

Magazine Manager - Stephanie Thurber

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld

Associate Editor - Larry Archer

Photography Editor - Cliff White

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

Designer - Shawn Carey
Designer - Marci Porter

Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner

Circulation - Laura Scheuler