Looking for more ways to have fun outside? Find out about Discover Nature programs in your area at mdc.mo.gov/events.
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.
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.”
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.
Angie Daly Morfeld
Nichole LeClair Terrill