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From Missouri Conservationist: Aug 2008

New to blues

Thanks for your story on fishing for big blues [Big Muddy; June]. I have never heard of them, but I thought I had come along for the ride with you. It was like I was sitting in the boat with my fishing pole in hand waiting to throw it in at the right spot, why, I almost heard the water lapping at the sides of the boat.

Congratulations, you have done an excellent job reporting your thoughts and laid them right out in black and white for all to enjoy. Keep up the good writing.

Pam Carey Rawski, Wheatland

Hungry hummers

Your informative article on hummingbirds was of great interest to me [Nature’s Helicopters; May]. I have been feeding hummingbirds for over 10 years. The numbers increase each year as they return to the same feeders.

During the months of July and August, I feed at least a gallon of homemade nectar each day. Your article stated that a hummingbird will eat half its weight in nectar each day. Other sources I have read say they eat twice their weight in nectar each day. One source gave the hummingbird’s weight at 1/10 of an ounce. If they eat twice their weight in nectar each day, that would mean I have over 600 birds feeding at my feeders each day. If they eat half their weight, that would be 2,560 hummingbirds per day.

Could you please clarify the correct weights for me? I’m curious as to how many hummers actually visit my feeders each day.

Janice Schnurbusch, O’Fallon

Editor’s note: According to Andy Forbes, resource scientist, “You are correct—hummingbirds typically consume far more than their weight per day. Studies have shown that they can consume three times their weight in nectar per day, perhaps even more. Add to that perhaps another 50 percent of their diet that is soft-bodied insects, and that’s a lot of food for such a little bird. There are a lot of young birds and some early migrants around at that time of year, which can result in quite the circus at feeders. Several hundred might stay in an area to capitalize on a good food source, like yours, as they migrate.”

We regret the error and any confusion it might have caused our readers.

On medium & message

It was great to read how the changes in the magazine production methods have reduced the amount of materials and energy used [“Note to Our Readers”; June]. It was also a good idea to remind your readers about the importance of recycling. I’d like to suggest that there is much more usefulness in its printed form before returning it to the “pulp pit.”

Every month I have to make the tough decision of who else gets to enjoy the fruit of your labor. Sometimes I’ll put it [the Conservationist] in the magazine basket by the treadmills at the gym, or I might leave it at the doctor or dentist office waiting room. A few times I’ve even deposited issues in different states, vicariously bragging about Missouri and the wonderful way that you capture its many facets. Wherever the location, it doesn’t stay long.

To recycle the local paper of yesterday’s news is commendable, but to not recirculate the treasures of your production is contemptible!

Michael J. Baumann, Imperial

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
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Ruby
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Circulation - Laura Scheuler