From Xplor for Kids
May 2017 Issue

Get Out

Fun things to do and great places to discover nature.

  • Lightning bugs appear in May. Watch for them flickering over yards, parks, and fields on warm evenings.
  • Float an Ozark stream and try black bass fishing. The season opens May 27.
  • Listen for frogs calling at night. The cricket frog’s call sounds like small pebbles being struck rapidly together, and the gray treefrog’s call is a high-pitched trill.
  • Go berrypicking. Gooseberries, raspberries, and mulberries ripen in June. Gig some frogs.
  • Bullfrog and green frog season opens at sunset Watch the birds. Nesting on June 30. season is at its peak, so lots of birds are carrying food to their babies. Enjoy the show from a distance. Curious people can disturb nesting birds.

What is it? Don’t know?

  • By day, I hang like a leaf in a tree.
  • At night, I take flight on a hunting spree.
  • I send special sounds out into the air.
  • Then aim for my prey when the echoes I hear.

The eastern red bat spends its summer days hanging by one foot from a tree limb, looking a lot like a dead leaf. At dusk, it flits off to hunt for flying insects. It has small eyes, but it relies on echolocation to “read” its environment. It emits high-frequency sounds that bounce off prey and back into its big ears. The echo pattern tells the bat what to attack and what to avoid.

Sticks Fix

How do beavers know when their dam has sprung a leak? Biologists believe it’s the sound of running water that sends the buck-toothed builders into a fix-it frenzy. To test this idea, researchers left a small speaker on top of a leak-free dam. All through the night, the speaker played the sound of gurgling water. When the researchers returned the next morning, they found that beavers had buried the speaker under a thick layer of sticks and mud.

Critter Corner: Summer Tanager

The only completely red bird to visit Missouri, summer tanagers fly from South America to spend the breeding season in
North America. Summer tanagers mainly feed on bees and wasps, somehow without getting stung! What’s this male tanager
doing with a soft, squishy caterpillar in its beak? Most likely carrying it back to his nest of youngsters. It takes thousands of
caterpillars and other soft-bodied insects to raise a brood of baby tanagers.

Also in this issue

Illustrated beaver

Leave it to Beavers

Construction is a family affair for these buck-toothed builders.

This Issue's Staff:

Bonnie Chasteen
Les Fortenberry
Karen Hudson
Angie Daly Morfeld
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White

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Xplor: May/June 2017

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