Field Guide

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Bottomland forest
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FIELD GUIDE A-Z
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Learn about the habitat, diet, and life cycle of Missouri's animals, plants, and mushrooms.
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What To Look For Right Now
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Sycamore tree, bare of leaves, amid other deciduous trees along Osage River in February
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How many trees can you identify in winter? Start with easy ones like sycamore. It is a large tree that usually lines waterways. Its broad crown of crooked, white branches is unmistakable.

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Juniper haircap moss, Polytrichum juniperinum
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Mosses drape around trees and boulders like warm, cozy shawls. They carpet the banks of streams and glisten like emeralds beside seeps and springs. Missouri has more than 300 types of mosses!

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Leafy nest of a tree squirrel positioned in the branches of a hickory tree
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Now that leaves have fallen, look for squirrel nests about 40 feet up in trees. Within these 12- to 20-inch-wide clusters of leaves and twigs, the inner cavity is a cozy 6–8 inches in diameter.

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Image of barred owl.
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December has great stargazing, with meteor showers and bright, colorful stars. When you’re out at night, listen for barred owls hooting and cackling: “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?”

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Field Guide Search