Get Outside in May

By MDC | May 1, 2022
From Missouri Conservationist: May 2022
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Let There Be Light

It wouldn’t be a late-spring Missouri evening without May beetles (June bugs) flying clumsily around porch lights, crash-landing on their backs, waving their legs helplessly. But these beetles may not be the only ones joining the party at the porch light. Many insects are attracted to lights at night. Click beetles and noctuid moths are just two examples of others you might find high-flying at night or crash-landed by morning.

You’re My Blue-Eyed Bloom

Blue-eyed Mary, one of the few Missouri wildflowers that is truly blue, is in bloom. This beauty is just one of many wildflowers dotting the landscape. May is a great time to get out and discover Missouri’s wildflowers. For more information, visit short.mdc.mo.gov/Zri.

Go On a Fish Watch

Spring and early summer is a great time to observe the activities of fish because many species are spawning. During spawning, they are often concentrated in shallow water, show bright spawning colors, and exhibit territorial defense, nest construction, courtship, and parental care. Tips for viewing: approach cautiously, try using binoculars, avoid creating vibrations that can be transferred to water, maintain a low profile so you’re not silhouetted against the sky, use polarized sunglasses to reduce solar reflections, try it on quiet days when there’s no wind to break up the water surface. For help identifying Missouri fish while you’re out, visit short.mdc.mo.gov/4Jm.

Special Event: Prairie Day

Saturday, May 14, 8 a.m.–4 p.m.

Wah’Kon-Tah Prairie

3860 East 02 Road, El Dorado Springs, MO 64744

No registration required. Call 417-876-5226 for more information.

All ages

Early morning bird hike starts at 8 a.m. Prairie booths and exhibits open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Activities include grazing tours/wagon rides, prairie walks/bee surveys, aquatic demo, atlatl throwing, archery, flintknapping, bird station, plants, pollinators, and insects, amphibians and reptiles, skulls, and furs. Presentation on bird conservation. Concessions by St. Clair County Cattlemen’s Association from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Native Plants: FLOWERAMA

Saturday, May 7, 1–3:30 p.m.

Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center

2289 County Park Drive, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

No registration required; for more information, call 573-290-5218

All ages

The bees know it, the butterflies know it, but do you? Come see just how amazing Missouri is in bloom as we celebrate the colors, shapes, and scents of our native flowers. This event is perfect for all ages, with crafts for adults and kids, games, garden tours with our naturalists, and much more. You are welcome to dress in your flowery best and buzz on by for a bloomin’ good time. For those participating in Cape Girardeau CNC’s “A Year in Color,” this program will earn green plants bead.

Find more events in your area at mdc.mo.gov/events.

3 Things You Can Do to Help Pollinators

  1. Plant Natives: Native plants are a food source for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. Add plants like common milkweed, showy goldenrod, and prairie blazing star to your landscape.
  2. Keep it Blooming: Keep something in bloom each season. Some species bloom all year, others only in April and May, still others in July and August. Learn more at mdc.mo.gov/monarch.
  3. Get Involved: Protect native grasslands, provide nesting places, and become a wildlife gardener. To learn how, visit GrowNative.org.

Natural Events to See This Month

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

  • Plains spadefoots emerge to breed.
  • Hoary bats are commonly seen in May.
  • Common nighthawks arrive in May.
  • Orangethroat darter spawning concludes.
  • Scarlet cups appear. Do not eat.

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