Wildlife in St. Louis, USA

This video is called Pickerel frogs calling.

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in the USA today:

Teams count wildlife in Forest Park


ST. LOUIS • Forest Park features more than 700 plant and animal species — and that’s not counting the St. Louis Zoo.

Identifying the park’s wildlife is the goal of the Academy of Science BioBlitz expedition.

Every other year since 2004, scientists have teamed up with students and residents to search the park for insects, reptiles, amphibians, birds, rodents and mammals as well as trees, plants and flowers. Their research is entered into a database to track the biodiversity of the ponds, woods and prairies in the 1,371-acre urban park.

“There are so many people where the only scientist they know is their pediatrician or doctor,” said Peggy Nacke, director of special projects for the academy, which sponsors science education in the community. “Here they’re able to spend an hour and a half with a scientist for authentic research.”

More than 200 people were expected to take part in free guided tours Friday and Saturday. Another BioBlitz is scheduled for Sept. 21 in Tower Grove Park and the rain gardens along South Grand Boulevard. Previous events have catalogued species in Creve Coeur Park.

Staff members from National Geographic who participated in the 2006 BioBlitz in St. Louis were inspired to start their own annual events in different national parks.

Wildlife sleuths have discovered 14 previously unidentified plant species in Forest Park. They have also spotted a spider wasp never before seen in Missouri, plus the pickerel frog, American toad, worm snake and eastern pipestrelle bat that are thought to be new to the park.

Insects are collected and sent for laboratory identification at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where the entomology museum houses 6 million insects.

Michael Dawson, a nature instructor at the St. Louis Zoo, led a team of zoo employees Friday on a trek through the park’s Kennedy Forest, searching for frogs and toads. Dawson is building an audio database of frog calls and sounds from the region.

The team donned rubber boots to wade through ponds and streams that were dug out in the woods to increase the park’s biodiversity. Much of the water comes from urban runoff, and pollution has killed off some reptiles and amphibians.

But they seem to be coming back, Dawson said.

His team found a couple of frogs in Forest Park and captured at least three tadpoles that were released after getting measured and identified. It’s not characteristic to see tadpoles this time of year, Dawson said, but the drought delayed the amphibian life cycle.

“Every year we find something we’ve never seen before,” he said.

Another team sent to find animals spotted several bird species and a mink, a water mammal that is fairly common in Forest Park.

Fran Endicott Armstrong of St. Louis came Friday to search for plants and trees in her second BioBlitz in Forest Park. More often she runs or rides her bike through the park’s designated trails.

“It’s nice to pay a little bit closer attention to what’s here,” she said.

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