FEATHERS ARE JUST FOR THE BIRDS: Only birds have feathers, and every bird has them. They are a natural engineering marvel that provide many functions like insulation from the heat and cold, displaying for courtship, and most impressively, lift and drag for flight. See a variety of bird feathers up close in the video and learn more fun facts in this week's Discover Nature Note.
SALAMANDER SWAY FOR VALENTINES DAY: The song "Sway", first made popular by Dean Martin, would choreograph well with the ritual water dance of spotted salamanders. Shortly after Valentine's Day, on the first warm rains of late winter/early spring, hundreds will gather in ponds and sway and swim with a marimba type rhythm. It can look like a flash mob during this brief window of their breeding season. Learn more about spotted and other salamanders in this week's Discover Nature Note.-- Peg@MDC
WINTER WILDLIFE GAMES: While humans compete for sport and honor at the Olympics, Missouri's wildlife are busy hunting, playing and competing for survival. They can be seen performing feats of strength, speed and endurance throughout the Show Me State. Learn more about the competitive skills of Missouri wildlife and see a video of them in action in this week's Discover Nature Notes.
GROUNDHOGS AND THEIR SPECIAL DAY: With their own holiday and the most watched weather forecast of the year, groundhogs have reigned through folklore as a predictor of how much winter is left in the season. In some places, people gather to see if they will see their shadow on February 2. A lesser known fact about groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, is that they are also excellent home builders. Learn more about groundhogs as well as the answer to the age old question of "how much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?" in this week's Discover Nature Note.
WILD CALLS IN THE NIGHT: They might hoot or holler, make a soft whinny, or even repeat your call. Owls are fascinating creatures of the night and their calls can help you identify them. Winter is the best time to hear and see owls which are usually active after dark. Learn more about these nocturnal predators and their environmental benefit in this week's Discover Nature Note.
OUTDOOR WINTER ADVENTURES: If you're having cabin fever, looking for ways to get fit, or spend time with family and friends, consider heading outdoors this season. There's a lot to see and do during the winter in the Show Me state. You can find out how and where to try out three different outdoor adventures in this week's Discover Nature Note.
THE MASKED BANDIT OF THE NIGHT: They are stealthy, savvy and hard to outsmart. Campsites and backyards are common scenes for their night raids. Raccoons are furbearers with an amazing ability to break into containers and garbage cans. Their long fingers on their front paws are perfect for picking locks and latches. They also have an uncanny ability to remember these feats and mimic them from watching each other. Learn more about raccoons and their special skills and value in this week's Discover Nature Note.
BIG, BOLD AND BALD: With a piercing call, talons, and yellow eyes, bald eagles are fierce predators. Adults have large white-feathered heads that make them easy to spot in flight. Bald eagles fly high in Missouri skies and low along big waterways. These birds of prey can see farther and perceive more colors than the human eye. Bald eagles can spot a fish, their favored food, a mile away. They soar along warm air currents with wings spanning seven feet. Winter is a great time to start a New Year's tradition watching bald eagles in action. Learn more about our nation's symbol, the best places to view them, and where you can catch them up close at an Eagle Days event in this week's Discover Nature Note.