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Mo. Raptors

A rose is due Ms. Carol Davit for her attention-getting article on raptors in the January issue [Missouri’s Raptors]. I was not well informed about these interesting creatures until Ms. Davit’s article, and she gave me a thorough education on the subject. I was not aware that there were so many different species among us.

The photographers are also due credit for the detailed pictures, especially the beautiful bald eagle. I look forward to seeing more of Ms. Davit’s articles in the Conservationist.

Stanley Stanton, Springfield

Flyer fishing

I have always wondered about those pictures of eagles swooping down in the middle of winter and grabbing a fish. As an avid fisherman I find it hard to believe an eagle could find a fish near the top of the water in the middle of winter. On Page 3 of the January issue [Reader Photo: Lucky Catch] it shows an eagle with what appears to be some type of perch or possibly a carp. Am I crazy in thinking fish don’t usually frequent shallow or the top layer of deeper water in cold weather?

Mike Horton , Chesterfield

Editors’ note: “You have made a good observation regarding the ability of eagles to catch fish in the winter at a time when fish rarely frequent the surface. Keep in mind that eagles often scavenge on dead animals and fish. I suspect that fish that are near death and struggling near the surface are also easy targets for eagles. Winter can be a time of frequent fish kills and much stress for fish that are trapped in ponds and lakes under low oxygen conditions under the ice. In the photo you mention, I noticed ice in the background, so it could be that low oxygen conditions had resulted in a number of dead or dying fish available for eagles.”—Mike Kruse, fisheries administrative manager

Making memories

I got my December copy of the Conservationist and sat down in front of my fireplace and started reading. As I made my way through to the end, as always, I read the Agent Notes. This one hit home for me.

I have a son who is 13 and has always been the kind of son who looks up to his dad and what I do. At the same age I also looked up to my dad. He loved the outdoors, and he would always find time to take me to the woods and to go fishing and hunting. I got my first .22 rifle at age 13, and my love for conservation grew from there as I got older. We spent a lot of time hunting squirrels in the Ozark hills.

Now that I am a father and my son spends that time with me and, yes, Agent Braunecker, you are correct about the Xbox and TV (my fault), I make time to get my son out of the house and experience the things that I did when I was his age. I even went out and bought property for my kids to play and explore. My son is great to watch as he learns and asks a lot of questions about what is out there. I plan on passing down my .22 rifle to my son someday as my father did to me, but for now he has his own.

Edward Dickinson, via Internet

Corrections

In Missouri’s Raptors [January; Page 31] the Web address to purchase Birds in Missouri by Brad Jacobs should have been www.mdcNatureShop.com.

The eagle-themed coins celebrating the Endangered Species Act mentioned in Coins Celebrate Eagles, ESA [January; Page 5] are no longer available through the US Mint. To find other eagle-themed coins from the US Mint, visit www.usmint.gov/mint_programs and click on “American Eagles,” or call toll-free 800-USA-MINT.

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