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From Missouri Conservationist: Jan 2014

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

Bird Out of Time

Reading the article Great Blue Heron in the November issue brought back memories from long ago.

Near where I lived was a low area, which at that time had ditches on both sides of the road filled with water. One morning on the way to work there was a low cloud or fog, such that it was clear from the ground to about 6 feet high, then dense fog above that. It was like driving through a tunnel. As I drove I found that several herons were in the ditches, and as I went down that road one after another flew up out of them. Like Danny Brown said, they reminded me of pterodactyls. As they rose up with their huge flopping wings and disappeared into the fog it was like driving into the land before time or perhaps the Flintstones. Thank you, Danny, for the wonderful picture and bringing back old memories.

Richard Schneider, via Internet

Bootheel Eagles

I noted your article Eagle Days Start Dec. 7 in the December issue did not mention the opportunity to see eagles in Dunklin County, or any of the Bootheel except Mingo NWR.

The Bootheel region is a great place to see eagles. As long as the wintering waterfowl are present, it is common to see several eagles in the lowland fields during a casual drive along any of the back roads in the region. Find some ducks or geese in the area, and you will find eagles.

My farm is in the south end of Dunklin County, close to the Little River Ditches, and I see eagles daily. Often the eagles are close enough to the county roads that binoculars are not needed. The area is flat, the wintering ducks and geese are numerous and easy to find, and the eagles can be seen from a distance. Then all one has to do is drive to where the eagles are for a up-close encounter. It’s common to see several eagles in a day, throughout the winter months and into the spring.

Kent S. Freeman, Kennett

Missing House Finch

You missed the pretty song of the house finch in your article Backyard Birds. As well, you recommended black sunflower, white millet, and niger. You missed the safflower seed; we serve it regularly, and it seems the black birds and the starlings cannot open it. The chickadees, the finches, the titmouse, doves, blue jay, cardinal, junco, nuthatch, and gold finches all can. Keep the good articles coming.

Jay McClelland, Springfield

Editors’ Note: Certainly the house finch was an option for an article about bird feeding, but, for the 14 bird species selected for the article, representing suet, sunflowers, mixed seed, fruit, and nectar, we could have included another 20 regular feeder birds, too. Though the house finch missed the cut on this particular article, we are no less fond of this charming visitor. Learn more about them at mdc.mo.gov/node/19947. While safflower’s thick shell deters some birds, it is a favorite of others, especially cardinals and grosbeaks, and it can be a good addition to your seed offerings.

From Facebook

I want to learn more about selling fur. Is there a good website to go to? I would like to know what fur buyers’ expectations are.

Willie Nelson

Conservation Department: Here is a link to our trapping information: mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/trapping.

Is it legal to take/keep those huge hornets’ nests you see in the trees?

Lorna Jaye

Conservation Department: It is not from conservation areas. On private land it is up to the landowner. Be careful and wait until you are sure all of the hive is dead.

This Issue's Staff

Editor In Chief - Ara Clark
Managing Editor - Nichole LeClair Terrill
Art Director - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Artist - Mark Raithel
Circulation - Laura Scheuler