ST. CHARLES, Mo. — A cacophony of peeping, peenting, twittering and twirling are coming from the woods during these early days of springtime. What are the sources of these unusual and exotic sounds? Would you believe a short bird with a big beak and frog smaller than an inch?
The landscape is coming to life with the sounds of courtship. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is inviting anyone willing to take a short walk after dark to discover the critters behind these mysterious noises at the Timberdoodles and Spring Peepers program this Saturday, March 16 from 6:15 – 9:30 p.m. at the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area.
The timberdoodle, also known as the American woodcock, is a short stocky bird with an unusually long beak and black eyes. Males make a nasal “peenting” sound as they strut on the ground to attract females, only to fly up in the air in a twirling flourish of high-pitched fluttering, chirping and twittering sounds. Meanwhile, the spring peeper wins the award for the frog with the most sound per ounce, as these tiny amphibians fill the air with their clear, high-pitched courtship chorus that can be heard a mile away.
Visitors will learn about both springtime harbingers on a short mile-and-a-half evening hike on Busch Conservation Area. Participants should plan on meeting at the visitor center and prepare for the weather. The program is free and open to all ages, however advanced online registration is required by going to https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZGF.
The August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area is located at 2360 Highway D in St. Charles, about two miles west of Highway 94.