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 7:42 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

January 24 - January 30

Discover nature this week as you watch for a lucky glimpse of snowy owls in this last full week of January. If food is scarce in the arctic, you just might see them.

Known to be the heaviest and most distinctively marked owl of North America, the wingspan of a snowy owl can reach 4-and-a-half to 5 feet. Young males have dark brown bars that whiten as they age, but the females keep the contrasting dark bars against the bright white base throughout their lives.

Missouri Department of Conservation. / KRCU

January 17 - January 23

Discover Nature this week as the Bald Eagle population peaks near open water and big rivers throughout Missouri.

Our state welcomes record numbers of bald eagles each winter and it has some of the most spectacular viewing areas in all of the lower 48 states because of the many prime wintering locations for the eagles. Some of these areas include Lake of the Ozarks, Mingo National Wildlife Refuge, and anywhere along the Mississippi or Missouri rivers, just to name a few.

Missouri Department of Conservation / KRCU

January 10 - January 16

Discover nature this week as you explore the New Year with a winter hike through the woods. 

The morning after a new snow is the best time to look for tracks, but a good rain will yield good tracks, too. According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, the easiest place to look for tracks is where two habitats meet, such as the edge of a field and a wooded area, or at the edge of water. A track's size and shape can help you make a good guess at the size and even species of the animal.

Missouri Department of Conservation. / KRCU

January 3 - January 9

Discover Nature this week as you watch for red-tailed hawks perched along highways, and consider what their presence says about other resident wildlife.

Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Found across the Eastern and Midwest portion of the United States, the blue jay is a native Missouri songbird. It's a wonderful bird to start with when learning bird identification, especially for children.

Jays are conspicuous because of their size and striking color. White patches and black bars highlight the bird's blue wings and tail. And the white underbelly and black necklace on its front are easy to spot as well. A jay also sports a distinct crest on its head.