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From Xplor: September/October 2019

Some people call Missouri “flyover country.” But migrating birds think of it as “stopover country.” Millions of feathered flyers flap across the Show-Me State during their spring and fall migrations. Some birds stay for just a few days. Others spend summer or winter here. Either way, our state’s wetlands, prairies, and forests offer perfect pit stops for these tired and hungry travelers.

When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go!

Why do birds travel such long distances? To feed and breed. Birds move north in spring to take advantage of lots of food and nesting sites. When food grows scarce or they’re done raising babies, they head south. How do they know when it’s time to go? They get the itch to migrate from changes in temperature, day length, and food supplies.


Can you match the bird to the route that it takes during fall migration? Write the letter of each route above the number for each bird. If you get all of them right, it will answer this riddle:

Why do birds fly south for the winter?

Because it’s too far 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

  • Broad-winged hawk
  • Prairie warbler
  • Snow goose
  • Bobolink
  • American golden plover
  • Ruby-throated hummingbird

Critter Corner: Tri-Colored Bat

You may have seen this little bat fluttering around your neighborhood at dusk. It feeds on flying insects like moths, wasps, leafhoppers, and beetles. In the summer, it roosts in the trees, sometimes high up in the canopy. In fall, it gathers with others at cave entrances to mate. Then it seeks out the most humid and warmest part of the cave to hibernate in until spring. Babies are born in May. Learn more at mdc.mo.gov/field guide.

Also In This Issue

Grey Squirrel
Meet a few of Missouri’s mighty oaks and the critters that crave their acorns.

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