Either red-tails are evolving super fast, or you've got your information wrong. I flew red-tails as a falconer for 12 years and try as I might I couldn't get any to be "small woodland hawks that specialize in preying on other birds."
Red-tails are adapted to hunt from the edge for small mammals moving in the fields. The only other woodland bird hunter besides the Cooper hawk is, of course, the sharp-shinned hawk.
Tony Chiles, Hermann
Marionville isn't the only home to white squirrels. this past August my niece (12) and I saw a white squirrel while on Highway 141 in West St. Louis County, when we stopped at the traffic light on Manchester Road.
We discussed the rarity of all white animals and turned the sighting into a mini-lesson about albino creatures and white-colored animals.
Jan Roeder, Manchester
Liked the lichens
I most enjoyed Doug Ladd's excellent article-with his outstanding photography-introducing your readers to the fascinating world of lichens.
Some 60-odd years ago, as a Washington University student, I had the fortunate experience of assisting Dr. Carroll Dodge, an internationally noted mycologist/lichenologist, in the reclassification of the lichens in the Missouri Botanical Garden's herbarium.
Donald Flint, Chesterfield
I share the views of the person who wrote complaining about people blaming hunters for everything. I was archery hunting only to emerge from the woods to find all my vehicle's lights broken out by a disgruntled home owner with a ball-peen hammer.
I did not trespass or break the law. They just did not want anyone hunting near their subdivision. I am happy to say they are being prosecuted for an act of violence. Chalk this up as the law working for justice.
Steve Brinkley, Nixa
I am 15 years old and I have read your magazine for years. In grade school I was the only one who hunted or fished, but gradually more and more kids started doing these things. I think the popularity of these sports is growing, and your magazine helps with this.
Rob Audrain, St. Louis
Cheering the Bull
I want to let you know what a wonderful job you are doing with Bull Shoals Lake. I was happy to see the 15-inch limit go into effect for largemouth bass. Too many small fish were showing up at cleaning stations. Also, on our past trip to the lake in October we caught five walleye, including one keeper at 20 inches. The lake just keeps getting better.
Karen & Ed Beasley
I'm a bit concerned after reading the November issue that the Conservationist reminds me of many other hunting and fishing publications. I am tired of reading so many stories about hunting, fishing and trapping Missouri wildlife. Although I know that hunting and fishing are an important part of any conservation of Missouri resources, enough is enough-please.
Dan Lucas, via internet
The November issue doesn't have an acceptable article or any decent information about deer season. I understand there needs to be balance, however, on a consistent basis you have entirely too many pictures and articles about caterpillars, flowers, sparrows and butterflies. I wish you would cancel my subscription. I don't want you wasting paper on me.
Jay Johnson, Branson.
Your children's section, Outside In, is a wonderful addition to your fine magazine. Not only is it interesting and informative, but it's kid-friendly. I especially enjoyed the story of Lily. It made me wonder if anyone today looks at cattails and acorns and sees them the same way Lily did.
Barbara Sparks, St. Louis
You have brought Missouri outdoors into my living room since childhood , from fishing with my father to feeding the birds in the backyard with my mother and keeping track of each species as they arrived and departed.
I'm an avid flyfisherman now and still look to your publication for information on this subject, as well as hundreds of other subjects. And now, what a great new format! It's nice to see change in everyday reading.
Rob Komotos, Webster Groves
I enjoyed reading "Eine Kleine Nacht Musik," but I want to point out that the "Handsome Grasshopper" is misnamed. I own a Christmas tree farm in eastern Jackson County, so I do a lot of mowing.
The handsome grasshopper has a bad habit of landing on my bare arm or neck and biting with a painful pinch. I don't know why this species has such a nuisance tendency, but I call it the "African Killer Fire Grasshopper" and think we should promote this as the new common name.
Ed Wilson, Independence
Q:I like to watch and study ducks. But every conservation area that I know has ducks is closed to everyone but hunters during the waterfowl seasons. How can I watch ducks during those seasons?
A: Many Conservation Department areas with wetlands are closed to activities other than managed waterfowl hunting from Oct. 15 through the end of the waterfowl season. However, most of these conservation areas have refuge sites where hunting isn't allowed and waterfowl viewing is encouraged.
In addition, several National Wildlife Refuges provide year-round bird watching opportunities. Also, many communities in the state maintain city reservoirs that aren't open to hunting. These make good locations for waterfowl viewing.
For more information on bird watching opportunities on national wildlife refuges call, toll-free, (800) 344-WILD, or go on the Internet to <http://bluegoose.arw.r9.fws.gov/>. Information on MDC conservation areas is available at <http://www.conservation.state.mo.us/areas/>.
Ombudsman Ken Drenon will respond to your questions, suggestions or complaints concerning Conservation Department programs. Write him at P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180, call him at (573) 751-4115, ext. 848 or E-mail him at <Ken.Drenon@mdc.mo.gov>.