Discover Nature

Every week there are new marvels to look for in the outdoors, and Discover Nature highlights these attractions. The Missouri Department of Conservation’s Candice Davis brings us the stories of river otters, luna moths, red buds, and other actors as they take center stage in nature’s theater.

This timely and topical program is the audio counterpart of the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Natural Events Calendar.

You can hear Discover Nature, Mondays at 7:31 a.m. and 5:18 p.m.

Local support for Discover Nature is provided by Adam Gohn, Attorney at Law.

Missouri Department of Conservation. / KRCU

Step outside this week and discover nature in a six-legged winged symbol of love.

This week is the luna moth’s one-week life on the wing as he’s driven by pure romance. Not exclusive to Missouri, or even the Midwest states, the luna moth can be found from east of the Great Plains in the United States, to northern Mexico and from Ontario eastward through central Quebec to Nova Scotia in Canada.

Missouri Department of Conservation. / KRCU

Step outside this week and discover nature as redbuds begin to bloom.

The Eastern Redbud lends a quaint charm to the Missouri hillsides in early spring when the pink hues of the flowers are in sharp contrast with the brown leaves covering the forest floor.

Missouri Department of Conservation / KRCU

Step outside this week and discover nature as zebra swallowtail butterflies emerge and grace our woodland areas.

When searching for inspiration, many famous writers step outside to discover nature and write down their finds. Joseph Warton described the butterfly as “Nature’s completest miniature divine.” It’s easy to imagine him strolling through a wooded area before he wrote his Verses on a Butterfly.

Robert Frost described butterflies as “flowers that fly and all but sing” in his poem, "Blue-Butterfly Day."

Missouri Department of Conservation. / KRCU

His streamlined body maneuvers through the barely moonlit water as he extends those sensitive cat-like whiskers from a silvery muzzle searching for a suitable midnight snack.

He is a river otter, who just a century ago, you wouldn’t have seen in or near Missouri waterways. Otters were nearly eliminated in Missouri because of unregulated harvest. Thanks to restoration efforts in the 1980s and early 1990s otters are once again found throughout most of our state.

Missouri Department of Conservation. / KRCU

Step outside this week and discover nature as male red-winged blackbirds arrive and claim their territories. This bird is thought to be the most abundant bird species in North America and nearly every cattail marsh in Missouri hosts them at some time of the year. They’ll also claim residence in wet meadows and ditches and shoreline shrubs.

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