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Every week there are new marvels to look for in the outdoors, and Discover Nature highlights these attractions. The Missouri Department of Conservation’s Josh Hartwig brings us the stories of river otters, luna moths, red buds, and other actors as they take center stage in nature’s theater.You can hear Discover Nature, Mondays at 7:42 a.m. and 5:18 p.m.

Discover Nature: Listen for Birdsong at Daybreak

Missouri Department of Conservation.

May 24 - May 30

Discover nature this week as bird song at daybreak is at its peak.

The end of May is the perfect time to learn bird calls and song. The distinction between songs and calls is based upon inflection, length, and context. Songs are longer and more complex and are associated with courtship and mating, while calls tend to serve such functions as alarms or keeping members of a flock in contact.

Most song is emitted by male birds and is usually delivered from prominent perches although some species may sing when flying. Scientists hypothesize that bird song has evolved through sexual selection, and experiments suggest that the quality of bird song may be a good indicator of fitness.

Individual birds may be sensitive enough to identify each other through their call which is demonstrated by the many birds that nest in colonies and locate their chicks using calls. Calls are sometimes distinctive enough for individual identification even by human researchers in ecological studies.

Some birds will engage in duet calls, some so perfectly timed they blend almost perfectly into what sounds like one call. Tracking and Naturalist studies denote five basic types of sound: Call, Song, Territorial, Fledgling, and Alarm. Within each of these basic categories, the particular meanings of the sounds are distinguished by inflection, body language and contextual setting.

Learning to identify the songs and calls of birds is a fun and easy way to connect with nature. 

To keep track of current natural events like the best time to get up early and listen to morning bird song you can get your own Natural Events Calendar from the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Candice Davis is the former host of Discover Nature on KRCU. Her goal is to help people to discover nature and learn to appreciate the many outdoor opportunities Missouri has to offer. Candice knows that people who spend time in the outdoors are generally less stressed, more thankful, healthier and more successful in life. Children who spend time outdoors have better grades and are more physically active. It’s Candice’s goal to inspire Missourians to discover nature in their everyday lives through stories of butterflies, elk, tupelo trees, alligator gar and other marvels of nature on KRCU’s Discover Nature program.
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