Strange but True

  • Hoo’s got yellow eyes? When it comes to owls, nearly all of ’em. Of the nine species that live in or visit Missouri, only two have brown eyes: barn owls and barred owls. All the rest have yellow peepers.
  • Tall tail: A red fox’s tail can make up almost 40 percent of the fox’s total length. On chilly nights, foxes curl into doughnuts and wrap their bushy tails around their bodies. To stay extra cozy, they tuck their noses underneath.
  • For tufted titmice, bigger is better. When offered a variety of seeds at a feeder, a hungry titmouse will almost always fly off with the largest seed first. But it doesn’t always eat the seed right away. It stores many to eat later.
  • During World War II, American school kids gathered milkweed seeds from fields, fence rows, and roadsides. They sent the fluffy seeds to the U.S. military, who stuffed them in life jackets to help keep sailors, pilots, and soldiers afloat.
  • Ring around the nosy: A ring-necked duck’s dark-brown collar is nearly impossible to spot on its black neck. In fact, it’s much easier to see the white ring that circles the male’s beak. But “ring-beaked duck” doesn’t have the same ring, does it?
  • Unlike most birds, which have three toes pointing forward and one toe pointing backward, woodpeckers have two forward and two backward. This arrangement offers the chiselbeaked birds a no-slip grip when they’re hammering on tree trunks.
  • In a school bus, the driver rides at the front. But in a school of fish, the drivers ride in the middle. A few fish in the center of a school direct the speed and direction of the entire group.

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