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From Missouri Conservationist: May 2007

Rail Talent

I don’t know what I enjoyed more—Noppadol Paothong’s photographs of king rails or his story about what it took to capture the images. A wonderful article on all fronts [Hide and Seek; April 2007].

I am probably one of thousands of “would-be” nature photographers whose heart races when the Missouri Conservationist arrives. The tenacity and endurance required to photograph wildlife is beyond comprehension to those of us who stalk nothing more than wild asparagus (pun intended...and stolen) as a photo subject. Write on and shoot on, Paothong!

P.S. The magazine’s new look is great, too.

Lee Phillion, Missouri master naturalist Confluence Chapter, St. Charles

Choose an Adventure

Thank you for putting on the youth turkey hunting clinic. My dad and I went to the one on March 24 at the Apple Creek Conservation Area in Altenburg.

We met at 6:30 a.m. and listened for turkeys. We heard quite a few gobbles. Then we scouted for turkey signs and found scratching, scat and feathers. Next we set up scenarios, good or bad, and decided what we should do. We learned what turkeys eat and how to use turkey calls (slate calls, box calls and push calls). We also learned the rules and regulations of turkey hunting and about the gear that you need. Then we patterned our shotguns, which was a lot of fun.

At the end of the turkey clinic, the conservation staff handed out box calls, a call bag and information sheets and books.

Thanks again for a great day.

Justin Gibbar, via Internet

Editor’s note: The Department of Conservation offers clinics and classes throughout the state. Whether you’re interested in hunting, fishing, hiking, birdwatching or other outdoor activities, you’re bound to find an exciting course to fit your skill level. Equipment is often provided for participants, and most classes are offered free to the public. To learn more about what’s happening in your area, call your regional Conservation office, or visit our Calendar of Events online.

Battling Bluebirds

We are fortunate to have several pairs of nesting bluebirds using our bird boxes each year. The other day, I saw two males fighting for the right to mate with a female. Will the dominant male hurt or kill the other male?

Steve Schiwinger, Cape Girardeau

Editor’s note: According to Andy Forbes, ornithologist, “Territorial disputes and disputes over females are very common among bluebirds. Don’t let their pleasant appearance and cheery song fool you; they can be extremely aggressive during the breeding season toward other birds, especially other bluebirds. Usually, disputes consist of pecking, clawing, pulling of feathers and rolling on the ground, followed by a loss of pride by the loser. Birds rarely kill one another, although it does happen. Keeping the boxes about 300 feet apart, or at least out of sight of one another, should help prevent squabbles.”

Submissions reflect readers’ opinions and may be edited for length and clarity.

This Issue's Staff

Editor in Chief - Ara Clark
Managing Editor - Nichole LeClair
Art Director - Cliff White
Writer/editor - Tom Cwynar
Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Staff Writer - Arleasha Mays
Photographer- Noppadol Paothong
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Designer - Les Fortenberry
Circulation - Laura Scheuler