Discover nature at night with MDC on evening hikes at Busch Conservation Area in March

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Saint Louis
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St. CHARLES, Mo—Spring begins earlier in nature than you might think.  Mysterious peents, twitters and peeps heard in the dark during mid-to-late March signal warmer days to come.  The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is offering a chance to learn more about the animals behind the sounds at two Timberdoodles and Spring Peepers hikes at the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area in March.  The first hike is Saturday, March 12, from 5:15-8:30 p.m. for adults only.  The second is open to all ages and is Saturday, March 19, from 6:15-9:30 p.m.

Participants will experience the sounds of a late winter evening during a moderate hike as they listen and watch for American woodcocks, also known as timberdoodles.  These nocturnal birds perform their unusual courtship display shortly after sunset.  The males make nasal “peenting” noises on the ground before flying high, only to spiral downward again, creating an elusive, fluttering sound on the way down.  This nature show belongs to one of the strangest members of the bird world.

After watching the timberdoodle display, there will be an optional hike to look and listen for small frogs called spring peepers which are also beginning their noisy courtship display.   One of the first species to begin calling in the spring, this amphibian’s peeping choruses ring out for great distances and are considered a true harbinger for the new season.

The hikes are free but advanced registration is required by calling 636-441-4554.  Participants are encouraged to dress for the weather and wear sturdy, comfortable footwear for walking outdoors.  The August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area is located at 2360 Highway D in St. Charles, two miles west of Highway 94.

The Timberdoodles and Spring Peepers hikes are one of the many programs and events offered by MDC throughout the St. Louis area to help people discover nature.  To keep informed of all activities, subscribe to the free monthly Conservation Connections Newsletter by visiting or sign up for email news updates at