Get Outside in April

By MDC | April 1, 2022
From Missouri Conservationist: April 2022

Tune into Frogs

Listen closely and see if you can pick out Missouri’s frogs as they emerge with their distinctive serenades. To help you get in tune with some of the state’s frogs, here’s a list and their corresponding sounds. Can you tell the difference?

Blanchard’s cricket frogs breed from late April through mid-July. Their call is a metallic gick, gick, gick.

Gray treefrogs breed from early April to early July. Their call is a musical birdlike trill.

Spring peepers breed in late February to mid-May. Their call is a high-pitched, peeping call, repeated about once a second.

Boreal chorus frogs have their peak of breeding activity during April. Their call is a rasping, vibrating prrreeep that sounds similar to running a fingernail over the teeth of a pocket comb.

Northern crawfish frogs breed from late February through April. The male’s call is a deep, loud, snoring gwwaaa. A group of calling males sounds like pigs at feeding time.

Southern leopard frogs breed mid-March through mid-October. The male’s call is a series of abrupt, chucklelike quacking sounds, repeated at a rate of 12 pulses per second.

Plains leopard frogs breed mid-April to early June. The male’s call at sunset is a rapid series of guttural chuck-chuck-chuck sounds, with a pulse rate of 3 per second.

Green frogs breed from late April to mid-August. The male’s call is an explosive bong that sounds like a loose banjo string.

Pickerel frogs breed from March through May. Their call is a low-pitched, descending snore lasting for several seconds.

Native Landscaping

Add natives to your landscape this year. If you’re looking for a native shrub, ninebark is a great choice! Its attractive, dense clusters of white flowers, which bloom from April to June, are a good nectar source for bees, butterflies, and even beetles. Several birds eat the seeds. And the cover of shrubs is appreciated by all small animals seeking shelter from predators.

Morel Mania

It’s that time of year when folks take to the woods in search of morel mushrooms. Most people think of morels when they hear the words “wild mushrooms.” Morels’ short season, good camouflage, and delectability leads some to keep “their” morel spots a secret for generations. Morels are treasured for their delicious flavor and the fun of the hunt, often a family tradition. Did you know there are three varieties of edible morels?

Yellow morels appear in April and early May. They can sometimes get huge, up to a foot high and 6 inches thick. They are choice edible mushrooms.

Black morels appear in April and early May. They usually only reach a few inches high. Some observers have noted they often come out a little earlier than the yellow morels.

Half-free morels appear in April. They occur scattered in mixed woods, and they usually pop up before the other morels.

For more information about Missouri mushrooms, visit A Guide to Missouri’s Edible and Poisonous Mushrooms at

Native Plants and Wildflowers Presentations by Scott Woodbury

Saturday, April 9

Native Plants: 11 a.m.–noon • Wildflowers: 1–2 p.m.

Location: online

Registration required by April 9. Call 888-283-0364 or email

Are you interested in making some changes to your garden to add more natives? These workshops are a great place to start, with information for beginning gardeners or native plant-curious homeowners. Register for each virtual presentation of Shaw Nature Reserve horticulturist Scott Woodbury.

Find more events in your area at

Keep Wild Animals Wild

City or countryside, Missouri’s wild animals are your neighbors, and finding a young animal alone doesn’t mean it needs help. In spring and early summer, rabbits and other wild animals are sometimes left alone for long periods while their parents look for food. If you see young wildlife in the outdoors, don’t assume it is abandoned or hurt.

Leave young wildlife alone.

If you believe an animal is in distress, notify the closest Missouri Department of Conservation office.

Natural Events to See This Month

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

  • Eastern collared lizards are active from April to September or October.
  • Most bats are forming their summer nursery colonies. Do not disturb them.
  • Mother crayfish carry eggs under their tails.

This Issue's Staff

Magazine Manager - Stephanie Thurber
Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Associate Editor - Larry Archer
Photography Editor - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek
Staff Writer – Dianne Van Dien
Designer - Shawn Carey
Designer - Marci Porter
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Circulation - Laura Scheuler