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From Missouri Conservationist: Jun 2015

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

More Bird’s-Eye Views

Thanks for a wonderful magazine! My husband and I love to watch the FalconCam [FalconCam Gives Bird’s-Eye View of Peregrine Falcon Chicks, April] each year. We also discovered an Eagle Cam located at dukefarms.org in New Jersey where my husband is from. Two baby eagles recently hatched. Tell your readers.

Donna Jablonski, via email

No Dumping

What a disappointment I felt when I read this article [No Dumping, May] by Francis Skalicky.

The piranhas and the alligator are tropical and must have a water temperature above 75 degrees, so they would not survive a Missouri winter nor would nearly all aquarium fish, which are generally tropical in nature and must be kept warm. I don’t believe that dumping of aquarium fish or other pets is ok, but let’s get our facts straight and use realistic examples.

Also let’s find a solution to the Asian carp problem as it will ruin sport fishing, commercial fishing, and boating. Follow Kentucky’s example and try commercial netting of those pests.

Gary Meyers, via email

Author’s Note: The prevailing belief that aquarium and other warm-water aquatic species can’t survive a Missouri winter isn’t always true. An American alligator’s chance of surviving a Missouri winter is admittedly lower than in its natural range (the southeastern U.S.), but this reptile has been known to survive water temperatures much cooler than it’s accustomed to. To survive cold weather, an alligator sometimes excavates a burrow in which it stays during colder periods. In regard to piranhas, studies have shown piranhas can tolerate water temperatures down to 50 degrees F. If fish find a refugia spot (a place where a spring-fed inlet keeps temperatures constant), aquarium fish might survive.

However, even if species do not survive winter, they can do considerable damage to a habitat up until the time of their demise. Aquarium nonnative species can also introduce diseases and parasites into an ecosystem. The tropical host fish and amphibians (frogs, salamanders, etc.) may not survive, but the pathogens or parasites could survive to impact Missouri’s native species.

In regard to Asian carp, they are a classic example of how much of a problem invasive species can be. The Department promotes the harvest of all Asian carp. There is no closed season or daily size limits. Commercial fishing can be used in an attempt to reduce their number. For more information, visit the Fishing Regulations on our site at mdc.mo.gov/node/3104.

—Francis Skalicky


In How to Bug a Bluegill [May], we incorrectly referred to bluegill as a “game fish.” Although bluegill are an important sport fish, they are not defined as a game fish in the Wildlife Code of Missouri. This is because bluegill and other nongame fish can be used as live bait to catch other species. In Missouri, no game fish may be used for bait. Check area regulations for daily limits for bluegill and special length limits.

Reader Photo

Leaving the Nest

Randall Jackson of St. Joseph, Missouri, took this photo of a bluebird chick leaving the nest for the first time. “For the past seven years, I have built, placed, and monitored about 20 bluebird houses in rural Buchanan County,” said Jackson. “Not long after I set up to shoot some photos near this box, the adult female appeared and began chirping incessantly from the gate post nearby. Soon, a little head poked out of the hole of the nest box and looked around.” Jackson said with the mother’s coaxing, the fledgling finally had enough courage to leave the nest. “The mother bluebird repeated this scenario for each one of her babies,” said Jackson. “The entire exodus took less than five minutes.”

This Issue's Staff

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Art Director - Cliff White
Staff Writer/Editor - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Circulation - Laura Scheuler