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From Missouri Conservationist: October 2020

Letters to the Editor

Submissions reflect readers’ opinions and may be edited for length and clarity. Email or write to us:

Missouri Conservationist
P.O. Box 180
Jefferson City, MO 65102

Perfect Prairies

Prairie Voices, what a beautiful gift of the land [August]. Thanks for sharing the stories of the individuals and families working to preserve this jewel. Photographs looked like paradise to me.

Angela Gambino, St. Louis

Nightjars and Swallowtails

I found an unusual tail feather at Mark Twain Lake that turned out to belong to a chuck-will’s-widow, a bird I had never heard of previously. Two days after that discovery, the Conservationist arrived with a full article about them and their close relatives [The Silencing of Missouri’s Iconic Nightjars, August]. It is tragic that we are losing these unique birds, but I’m happy to say there was at least one of them nearby this summer. The whip-poor-will that used to call every night here on the farm has been unheard now for many years, though.

Catching up on my reading, the next incredible and timely article, in the July issue, was Mr. Paothong’s very detailed and beautiful piece about the spicebush swallowtail [From Big-Eyed to Beautiful]. The day before, we had visited a neighboring CRP prairie and were delighted with the many dark-colored butterflies in the wildflowers. Now we know what they were, and their life history as well! Your magazine is always timely and important in our family’s life. Thank you.

Sue Allmart Mexico

Knowing About Nightjars

I have received the Missouri Conservationist for years and thought I would let you know how much I enjoy reading the magazine. It is filled with pictures and new information every time. I was so excited to learn more about the whip-poor-will. I never knew what they looked like because I would always hear them at night. I could count on them to come out at 9 p.m. sharp. Such a fun bird. Thank you for your faithfulness in keeping up with such a great magazine.

Mardell Bontranger via email

I was particularly interested in the article on the “nightjars.” Growing up in the 1950s in rural northeastern Missouri, I fell asleep every night to the serenade from what seemed to me to be hundreds of these birds. Their distinctive whip-poor-will call was a cherished memory of my childhood roaming the fields and forests. When I moved to the Ozarks, I heard very few of them, but they had a different “hillbilly accent,” which I now know is a different species of these birds. For the past 20 years, I don’t think I have heard any of them. This is so sad and I really miss the concerts that these birds provided. I hope we can bring them back.

G.L. Hoeppner, DVM Salem

I enjoyed Norman Murray’s article on nightjars in the August Conservationist. I am happy to report  that during my spring turkey adventures I heard significantly more whip-poor-wills calling in numerous locations than I had heard for several springs.

Dr. Doug Burch Neosho

Keep Nature Clean

While on a bike ride at Creve Coeur Lake in St. Louis County, I came upon a barred owl entangled in fishing line and hanging from a tree. This story had a happy ending, though. The World Bird Sanctuary sent a bird specialist who rescued the owl and took it back to be examined and eventually to be released.

I thought this story might make for a good public service announcement to anglers across Missouri to let them know the potential negative impact of leaving fishing line behind.

Tom Strutz, Chesterfield

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This Issue's Staff

Magazine Manager - Stephanie Thurber

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld

Associate Editor - Larry Archer

Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek

Art Director - Cliff White

Designer - Shawn Carey
Designer - Les Fortenberry
Designer - Marci Porter

Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner

Circulation - Laura Scheuler