Strange but True

By MDC | January 1, 2022
From Xplor: January/February 2022

Life flutters by quickly for most butterflies. Many live for only a few weeks. But mourning cloaks can live 10 months or longer. Adults emerge in June and July, hibernate during winter, and survive until spring.

Hairy woodpeckers sometimes follow pileated woodpeckers around the forest. When the larger bird flies away to hammer on a new tree, the smaller one swoops in to search the hole for yummy insects left behind.

In the fall, a beaver family may gather 2,000 pounds of branches and stick them into the mud in deep water near their den. When winter comes, family members swim under the ice to grab a stick for a snack.

The eastern cottonwood is Missouri’s fastest growing native tree. Under ideal conditions, it can reach a height of 50 feet in only six years. If humans grew that fast, you’d be 6 feet tall before your first birthday.

Snow is nothing to grouse about — if you’re a ruffed grouse. The woodland birds grow comb-like bumps on their toes during winter. The bumps work like snowshoes to help a grouse walk on top of deep snow.

It’s good to be queen. Nearly every bumblebee dies when winter arrives. Only queens survive. They hibernate underground and live off of fat they packed on during autumn. When spring arrives, the queens lay eggs to start new colonies.

Lesser scaup sometimes do somersaults in the water. The quackrobats aren’t trying to win the Olympics. They’re trying to eat tiny animals called amphipods off of their chest feathers and flipping over in the process.


This Issue's Staff

Alexis (AJ) Joyce

Noppadol Paothong
David Stonner

Marci Porter
Les Fortenberry

Cliff White

Matt Seek

Laura Scheuler

Stephanie Thurber