Get Out

By | January 1, 2017
From Xplor: January/February 2017
  • In January, peak numbers of bald eagles gather to hunt and scavenge for fish near lakes and rivers. Plan a family outing to spot some. Browse and search “eagle days” to find events and locations where you can watch eagles hunting in the wild.
  • Christmas is over, but your tree still has some holiday spirit left in it. Get a grown-up to help you tuck your un-decorated Christmas tree near your birdfeeder or sink it in your pond. The birds or fish will appreciate the gift of extra cover.
  • Listen for great horned owls hooting at night. They start calling for mates in January. And don’t miss Creatures of the Night on for more info on some fascinating creatures that work nature’s night shift.
  • White-tailed bucks start shedding their antlers this time of year. Take a hike in the woods and see if you can find some.
  • Listen for chorus frogs, which start calling in February. Their calls sound like when you run your thumbnail across the top of a pocket comb.
  • Snowy days are great for spotting animal tracks. Get outside and see how many different kinds of bird and mammal tracks you can find.

Looking for more ways to have fun outside? Find out about Discover Nature programs in your area at

What is It?

  1. We can fly all night with our necks outstretched.
  2. We sleep all white with our necks crooked down.
  3. We look like rocks lying under the snow.
  4. But wake us up, and our “horns” we will blow.

Big, all-white water birds, trumpeter swans have a wingspan of nearly 8 feet. They like to fly at night. In winter, you may spot them hanging out near shallow water. Their voices sound like toy trumpets. They honk to keep their family together, defend territory, or sound an alarm. A great place to see them is at Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Chariton County, especially during spring migration.

Coyote Code

Coyotes sure are chatty critters. You often hear them just after sunset: a lonely howl ending in a bunch of barks and yips. And when one coyote starts howling, nearby coyotes usually join in. Although it sounds spooky, there’s nothing to fear. Howling is how coyotes talk to each other. A coyote might howl to say, “I’m lonely,” “Stay away,” or “Let’s find some rabbits to eat.”

Critter Corner

Hooded Merganser

These sporty little ducks are male hooded mergansers. They don’t always cruise with their fancy hoods up — they can also lay them flat against their necks. Here, they’re probably showing off for nearby lady mergansers. Hooded mergansers are rare winter visitors to Missouri, but you might see them on just about any wooded stream or lake this time of year. They dive underwater to snag their prey, and their serrated bill helps them grab slippery fish.

And More...

This Issue's Staff

Bonnie Chasteen
Les Fortenberry
Karen Hudson
Angie Daly Morfeld
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White