Thursday, February 25, 2016

MDC invites duck hunters to meetings in Springfield, Joplin

Zone workshops in March will give hunters chances to offer input.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) invites area waterfowl hunters to two upcoming waterfowl zone workshops in southwest Missouri where MDC staff will gather hunter input about duck season dates and zone boundary locations for the 2017-2020 hunting seasons.
The upcoming meetings in this part of the state will be March 1 at the Springfield Conservation Nature Center, 4601 S. Nature Center Way in Springfield, and March 2 at the Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center, 201 W. Riviera Drive in Joplin. Both meetings will run from 7-9 p.m. and are two of 13 zone workshops MDC is holding around the state.
Participants at these workshops will have opportunities to review long-term data about weather, migration, habitat use, harvests and hunter opinions. Season dates and zone preferences will also be discussed. MDC will use the hunter input gathered through the workshops, along with results of hunter opinion surveys, to help establish the state’s duck season dates and zones for the 2017-2020 seasons.
Before attending a workshop, MDC encourages hunters to review information compiled by MDC biologists on migration, harvest, weather, and hunter preferences for each region of the state. This information is on the MDC website at on.mo.gov/1gilHme.
“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gives states the opportunity to change the number and location of duck zones every five years,” explained MDC Resource Scientist Andy Raedeke. “At these times, states can also select a continuous season or split season, which refers to a season that is open for a period of time, closes, and then reopens for a second period of time.”
Raedeke added that once selections are made, Missouri then keeps the same season-date formulas for multiple years, with the next ones being 2017 to 2020.
“Conservation makes Missouri a great place to hunt waterfowl. As hunters know, hunting conditions can vary tremendously from one year to the next,” he said. “During some years, the best hunting can occur early in the season. During other years, it can occur late. Limiting changes to every four or five years helps the Department of Conservation evaluate the effectiveness of zone boundaries and season dates over a range of conditions.”
Raedeke noted that recommended changes for a given period depend primarily upon hunter input.
“If most hunters from a particular region prefer a different season structure or season dates, we will likely recommend a change,” Raedeke said. “Hunter input from the last series of workshops prompted MDC to make two changes to the boundary of the south hunting zone.”
He added that, given the range of hunter preferences, not all hunters will be completely satisfied with season dates and zone boundaries.
“Our aim is to accommodate at least a portion of most hunters’ desires. We listen to what waterfowl hunters want and sincerely appreciate their time, effort and input.”

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Conservation and agriculture groups partner against feral hogs

Ten groups work with MDC and Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation to fund feral hog trapping equipment.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has partnered with other conservation groups, agriculture organizations, and the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation (MCHF) to provide the state’s feral hog strike team with more trapping equipment and increase feral hog communications to the public.
“The number of requests MDC gets asking for help with feral hogs continues to increase as landowners become aware of the problem with feral hogs and hog hunting,” said MDC Agriculture Liaison Brent Vandeloecht. “By collaborating with non-government organizations, MDC can increase funding to provide more traps for use on private and public land and also educate the public on the need to eradicate feral hogs.”
The total amount of funds raised equals $53,600 in cash and $23,000 in-kind, which includes costs incurred for the organizations to produce feral hog media efforts for public education.
“This is an excellent opportunity to work in collaboration with MDC and its partners to address a serious threat to agricultural and conservation resources,” said Chief Administrative Officer for the Missouri Farm Bureau Federation Dan Cassidy.
MDC currently works with private landowners to set traps to catch feral hogs. With the current equipment available, traps are moved from one private property to another after a successful trapping. However, MDC employees have noticed that once a trap is active on a property, there are usually opportunities to trap hogs in that area again. It will be more efficient to leave traps in place on private land for longer periods of time until all hogs have been trapped. This will be possible with the addition of more trapping equipment.
The following organizations have partnered with MDC and MCHF to provide resources for 65 traps and drop gates to be used by MDC for trapping efforts on private and public land, and to fund public education efforts on the dangers of feral hogs:
  • Missouri Farm Bureau
  • Missouri Corn Growers Association
  • Missouri Soybean Association
  • Missouri Cattlemen’s Association
  • MFA
  • Missouri Pork Association
  • Missouri Agribusiness
  • National Wild Turkey Federation
  • Quality Deer Management Association
  • Quail Forever
“Quail Forever understands the value of conserving our natural resources and we further understand the degradation that occurs when feral hogs are present,” said Elsa Gallagher, Missouri State Quail Coordinator for Quail Forever. “We fully support the Department’s efforts to eradicate feral hogs.”
Feral hogs are not wildlife and are a serious threat. Feral hogs have expanded their range in the U.S. from 17 to 38 states over the past 30 years, according to Vandeloecht. Their populations grow rapidly because feral hogs can breed any time of year and produce two litters of one to seven piglets every 12 to 15 months. Feral hogs are also known to carry diseases such as swine brucellosis, pseudorabies, trichinosis and leptospirosis, which are a threat to Missouri agriculture and human health.
“Research shows that about 70 percent of the feral hog population needs to be removed yearly to keep populations of feral hogs from increasing,” Vandeloecht said. “We cannot achieve that without this partnership to increase equipment availability and we won’t achieve that without continued education and cooperation with the public.”
For more information on feral hogs in Missouri, or to report a sighting, go online tomdc.mo.gov/feralhog.

Invasive black carp weren’t supposed to be capable of reproducing, but they are

Black carp are just one species of invasive Asian carp
that are found in many rivers in Missouri. (MDC photo)
Population growth threatens native species, but everyone can help prevent it.
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – Researchers with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) report the first documented evidence of invasive black carp reproduction in the wild in North America. This means big problems for native river species, according to MDC Resource Scientist Quinton Phelps.
“The finding of reproductive-capable black carp means their population will expand possibly unchecked,” Phelps said.
The finding resulted after two small unidentified carp were collected in a ditch directly connected to the Mississippi River near Cape Girardeau in November. After genetic analysis, they were determined to be juvenile black carp and were also tested to determine their reproductive capability. Both juvenile black carp were found to be capable of reproduction. Scientists are able to determine future reproductive capability of juvenile fish through chromosome analysis.
Black carp are just one species of invasive Asian carp that are found in many rivers in Missouri. They originally arrived in the United States mistakenly in shipments of grass carpand were introduced into farm ponds first for control of parasites, then as a food fish. When they were introduced, regulations specified they be altered so they could not reproduce. Due to flooding, and cases of accidental release in bait buckets, they’ve spread in recent decades and thrive in many rivers.
This newly confirmed information about their reproductive capability suggests there are likely more adults present in the river than biologists originally anticipated, Phelps said, which is a big problem. Invasive species in Missouri can be detrimental to the survival of native species. For example, Asian carp compete with native fish species for food sources. They’re voracious eaters of native mussels, which are a vital species to the health of river habitat.
“Given that many of our mussel populations in the state are currently in jeopardy, additional consumption by black carp could drastically reduce their numbers,” Phelps said.
Nearly two-thirds of the 65 species of mussels found in Missouri are of conservation concern. These freshwater mussels are filter feeders, meaning they clean impurities from the water. They provide food for native muskrats, raccoons, river otters, some birds, and many native fish species. Through their gills, mussels filter out small particles from the water and transform them into food for fish and other animals.
Black carp consumption of native mussels and competition with native species could lead to an overall poor water quality system, directly affecting humans as well as native fish.
Although this news paints a discouraging picture, Phelps said it doesn’t mean the fight is over against black carp. Instead, he said everyone can get involved in reducing their spread by avoiding accidentally introducing the species into new bodies of water when they dump bait, ensuring stocked fish come from licensed vendors, and sharing information about these practices with others.
Black carp sightings should be reported to the MDC, either by contacting a fisheries biologist at the Southeast Regional Office at (573)290-5730, or by contacting Phelps and his colleagues at the Big Rivers and Wetlands Field Station in Jackson at (573)243-2659. For general information about black carp, go online to http://mdc.mo.gov/node/10336.

Friday, February 19, 2016

MDC: Cape Nature Center offers Nature Art

Nature journaling is a process where a person draws or writes what they see in nature in a dedicated journal. (MDC file photo)
This month’s nature art program demonstrates adding color to nature journaling.
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center offers a monthly nature art program. The next session is Saturday, March 5, from 1 to 3 p.m., and is all about adding color to nature journals.
“So much of our art is inspired by nature,” said Jamie Koehler, assistant manager of the center. “Our volunteers lead this program and they are both nature experts and phenomenal artists. They’ll showcase how to use water colors in journaling to add color.”
Nature journaling is a process where a person draws or writes what they see in nature in a dedicated journal. The process helps in identifying what aspects of nature change throughout time, over seasons and generally helps appreciate the intricacies of the outdoor environment. Journals can be as simple as a few sentences recorded per nature experience, or as complicated as full illustrated pages with doodles and drawings that reflect what species were viewed and what the weather was like. Some like to add various mediums to the journaling process as their journal grows in pages.
“If you’re interested in trying or have dabbled in water colors even a little bit, this will be a program for you,” Koehler said.
Basic water coloring techniques will be demonstrated and basic supplies will be provided so guests can try it in class.
All ages and groups are welcome, though registration is required. The Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center is located inside Cape Girardeau's North County Park, just east of Interstate 55 (Exit 99) and Kingshighway (State Highway 61). For more information on this and other nature programs at the center, go online to mdc.mo.gov/CapeNatureCenter, call(573)290-5218, or text nature to 91212.

Volunteer with MDC to help Wood Duck populations in mid-Missouri March 12

Annual Wood Duck Nest Box Day at Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area provides opportunity to work with experts and learn how to provide quality brood-rearing habitat.   
Register by March 9 for an opportunity to work with wildlife experts and learn how to provide quality brood-rearing habitat.
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) invites volunteers to participate in the annual Wood Duck Nest Box Day at Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area in Boone County.  
MDC hosts this event each year to clean, repair, and refill more than 100 nesting boxes with fresh wood chips. These nest boxes provide an enormous amount of quality brood-rearing areas for local wood ducks.  MDC relies on volunteers to keep these nest boxes in good condition and ready for use in the spring.  
This year's event will take place on Saturday, March 12, from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.  All volunteers and staff will meet at the Eagle Bluffs headquarters and then split into groups.  Lunch will be provided, but participants should bring snacks and water to have in the field.  Volunteers will need to have the ability to walk in knee- to waist-deep mud and water.  Sometimes the weather can be harsh, so volunteers should bring all necessary outerwear to work outdoors that day.   
MDC will provide some chest waders, but participants should bring their own if possible.   
What to bring:
  • Appropriate outerwear for the weather
  • Snacks and water
  • Chest waders (if you own your own pair)
  • Knee boots / hip boots
  • Gloves
Register to attend this event by March  9 by calling MDC Wildlife Biologist Clayton Light at 573-445-3882, or email Clayton.Light@mdc.mo.gov

MDC awards state champion status to Benton County tree

A winged sumac on private land joins list of state's largest trees

Warsaw, Mo. – A winged sumac tree on private property in Benton County is now on the list of Missouri State Champion Trees. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) recognizes state champion trees under a formula involving measurements of the trunk, height and spread.
   MDC Resource Forester Jake Willard measured the tree. Willard recently presented Missouri State Champion Tree plaques to Bill Shumake, who owns the winged sumac, and Matt Arndt, who nominated the tree. The tree is on Shumake’s propery near Edwards, Mo. Arndt is a private consulting forester who was conducting a timber inventory on the property when he found the tree.
   The champion winged sumac measured 11 inches in circumference on the truck, is 24 feet tall and has a spread of 11 feet. Those measurements are not huge as many trees grow. But they’re big for a winged sumac, which is a member of the cashew family of trees. The species is often found as a shrub. But some do grow into trees.
   Winged sumacs produce red berries consumed by wildlife in winter. But the species also makes a good ornamental planting in lawns and gardens with dark-green, glossy leaves in summer that turn a brilliant crimson in autumn.  Winged sumac is also a native host plant for butterflies and moths, including the beautiful lime-green luna moth. Caterpillars feed on the leaves.
   For more information about Missouri State Champion Trees, visithttp://on.mo.gov/1vW16tv. Learn about healthy trees and their role in conservation athttp://www.mdc.mo.gov.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

MDC Cape Nature Center offers women’s hike

Holly Ridge Conservation Area is the destination March 5.
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center will host a women’s hike at Holly Ridge Conservation Area Saturday, March 5, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“This is a chance for local women to get together and spend a day out in nature,” said Jordi Brostoski,  MDC naturalist at the center.
Brostoski said March is a great time to get an early glimpse of spring along the trails.
“I particularly like to hike in late February or early March and then do the same hike again a month later,” she said. “It gives you a chance to see how much has changed in nature in that short period of time.”
“Holly Ridge is a beautiful area with many different species of plants and animals of conservation concern,” Brostoski said, adding that the area resembles forests of Tennessee more than it does a typical Ozark forest.
The hike is four and a half miles with a difficulty rating of moderate. This program is for women ages 14 and up. Those under 17 must be accompanied by an adult. Call the nature center to make a reservation for this program at (573)290-5218.
The Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center is located inside Cape Girardeau's North County Park, just east of Interstate 55 (Exit 99) and Kingshighway (State Highway 61). For more information on this and other nature programs at the center, go online tomdc.mo.gov/CapeNatureCenter, call (573)290-5218, or text nature to 91212.

MDC to host waterfowl season workshops in March

Hunters can provide input at workshops in Blue Springs, Harrisonville, Nevada

Kansas City, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) invites Missouri waterfowl hunters to upcoming public workshops where Department staff will gather hunter input about duck season dates and zone boundary locations for the 2017-2020 hunting seasons. Three workshops are upcoming in MDC’s Kansas City Region. All workshops are from 7 to 9 p.m. No reservations are necessary.  
  • Nevada on March 3 at the Nevada Community Center, 200 N. Ash St. For more information, call 417-876-5226 or 816-622-0900.
  • Harrisonville on March 8 at the Cass County Sheriff's Office Training Room, 2501 W. Mechanic, Suite 100. For more information, call 660-885-6981 or 816-622-0900.
  • Blue Springs on March 9 at the MDC Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center, 1401 N.W. Park Road. For more information, call 816-228-3766 or 816-622-0900
    Hunter input at workshops and hunter opinion surveys will be used to help establish Missouri’s 2017-2010 duck season dates and zones.
   “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gives states the opportunity to change the number and location of duck zones every five years,” explained MDC Resources Scientist Andy Raedeke. “At these times, states can also select a continuous season or split season, which refers to a season that is open for a period of time, closes, and then reopens for a second period of time.” 
   Hunters may review information about the state’s waterfowl migrations, harvest, weather patterns and hunter preferences at http://on.mo.gov/1giLHme    

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Trail Work Begins This Week

Beginning Wednesday, February 17, the glade section of the Long Trail at the Springfield Conservation Nature Center will be closed temporarily to replace old wooden decking with recycled plastic boards. This is the last part of the trail improvement project that began two years ago. This portion of the Long Trail will close daily Monday - Thursday from the Long Bridge to the Fox Bluff loop. The trail will open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays when the regional crew will not be working. The project is expected to take two weeks to finish.
The regional team members doing the trail work have been busy working at other Conservation Areas on flood damage this winter, so this is their first opportunity to finish this project.
We apologize for any inconvenience. The end result will be worth the wait. The recycled boards will last much longer than the wooden boards and do not require annual waterproofing treatment, so they're better for the environment.
Stop by the nature center for updates or call 417/888-4237.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

MDC offers free Discover Nature Girls Camp June14-16

Registrations now accepted for outdoor skills camp for girls at Camp Palestine in Johnson County


Kansas City, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is now accepting registrations for a free Discover Nature Girls Camp June 14-16 at Camp Palestine near Chilhowee, Mo., in Johnson County.
   Discover Nature Girls Camp is a three-day, two-night outdoor skills camp for girls ages 11 to 15. This camp provides a supportive learning environment for girls to learn about firearm safety, fishing, conservation management and ethics, water safety and basic canoeing, archery, hunting and other outdoor skills. Participants will have a chance to shoot pellet guns and archery on target ranges under the supervision of experts. They will receive Missouri Hunter Education certification. Campers will get a chance to catch fish in the lake at Camp Palestine.
   
The outdoor activities will be taught by MDC experts. Participants will gain the confidence to explore Missouri’s diverse nature on their own. MDC will provide all the necessary gear and material for camp activities. Campers are accepted in the order that completed applications are received. Completed applications must be received by April 1.
   MDC is also seeking female chaperones who would like to assist at the camp.
  To request an application form and apply for Discover Nature Girls Camp, contact Conservation Agent Brian Bartlett at 816-835-6087, or brian.bartlett@mdc.mo.gov. Applications are also available at the MDC Kansas City Regional Office and the MDC offices at Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center, Burr Oak Woods Nature Center, El Dorado Springs, Clinton and Sedalia.
   For more information, call 816-622-0900. MDC connects people with nature. For information about other MDC educational programs, visit http://mdc.mo.gov.

Monday, February 15, 2016

MDC: Remedy for fishing fever is March 1 trout opener

Thousands of anglers flock to trout parks around the state for opening day of catch-and-keep trout fishing.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – As the wintery season winds down, anglers throughout the Show-Me State are beginning to show some signs of trout fever. Symptoms include: tying flies, putting new fishing line on reels, checking waders for holes, and practicing casting. Most anglers who get trout fever get rid of it by doing one thing—visiting one of Missouri's four trout parks to participate in the catch-and-keep trout season.
Tuesday, March 1, marks the opening of catch-and-keep trout fishing at Bennett Spring State Park near Lebanon, Montauk State Park near Licking, Roaring River State Park near Cassville, and Maramec Spring Park near St. James.
"This year's trout opener should be good and comparable to previous years," said MDC Fisheries Unit Chief Bruce Drecktrah.
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) operates trout hatcheries at all four parks. To help predict angler turnout on opening day, hatchery staff rely on permit records going back more than 70 years. Montauk, Bennett Spring, and Roaring River hatchery staff expect crowds of about 2,000 anglers at each location and Maramec Spring staff are planning for a crowd of about 1,500. Based on these predictions, hatchery staff will stock three trout per expected angler on opening day for a total of more than 22,500 fish averaging around a foot in length. The hatcheries will also stock a mix of "lunkers" ranging in three to 10 pounds.
Trout Season Outlook
Due to the heavy rain and record-breaking flood that took place this past December, MDC crews have been inspecting flood damage and evaluating the impact these floods may have on hatcheries, fish production and fish numbers.
"We have plenty of fish for this year's trout season," said MDC Fisheries Division Chief Brian Canaday. "But due to the heavy rains and flooding our trout stocking will be slightly reduced throughout the season. We will stock approximately two fish per trout tag sold at each trout park instead of our usual 2.25."
Canaday added that MDC staff will continue to evaluate hatchery fish inventories, stocking plans, and make adjustments throughout the season as appropriate.
Permits
It's important to know anglers need a daily trout tag to fish in Missouri's trout parks. Daily trout tags can only be purchased at each of the four trout parks. Missouri residents 16 through 64 need a fishing permit in addition to the daily tag. Nonresidents 16 and older also need a fishing permit.
Economic Outlook
Trout hatcheries are just one way that conservation pays in Missouri. MDC stocks more than 800,000 trout annually at the state's four trout parks and approximately 1.5 million annually statewide. Trout anglers' spend more than $100 million each year in the Show-Me-State, which generates more than $180 million in business activity, supports more than 2,300 jobs and creates more than $70 million dollars in wages. About 30 percent of Missouri trout anglers come from other states, so a substantial portion of trout fishing expenditures is "new money" for the state's economy.
For more information on trout fishing in Missouri, visit https://huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/fishing/where-fish/trout-areas
REMINDER TO TROUT ANGLERS: To prevent the spread of the invasive alga called didymo or "rock snot," the use of shoes, boots or waders with porous soles of felt, matted or woven fibrous material is prohibited at all trout parks, trout streams, Lake Taneycomo, and buffer areas. Go online for more information to http://on.mo.gov/1V6qc6W

MDC offers Conservation Management Workshop Feb. 23

Workshop in Independence designed to help acreage owners manage for wildlife


Kansas City, Mo. – Wildlife and native plants can thrive on small acreages given nurturing management practices. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will offer a free Conservation Management Workshop 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at the Bass Pro Shops, 18001 Bass Pro Drive in Independence.
   MDC staff will discuss topics such as native plants useful for wildlife and landscaping, timber stand improvement, and reducing problems from invasive species.
   “We’ll talk about what trees to plant and what not to plant for wildlife,” said Andy Carmack, MDC private land conservationist. “We’ll talk about improvements they can make for quail and other wildlife.”
   The workshop is useful for anyone interested in wildlife-friendly practices. However, the
topics covered will be especially useful to acreage owners in suburban or rural settings, Carmack said.
   Advance registration for the workshop is requested. To register or for more information, call816-228-3766.
   MDC will also be offering two other workshops in March to assist private landowners. An Invasive Plant Identification and Control Workshop will be held 8 to 10 a.m. on Thursday, March 10, at the Warrensburg Community Center, 445 East Gay St. To register, call 660-747-7178. A Prescribed Burn Workshop will be held 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, March 16, at the Bass Pro Shops in Independence. Call 816-228-3766 to register.
   For more information on MDC programs that assist private landowners, visithttps://mdc.mo.gov/your-property.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

MDC teaches outdoor skills at Women's Spring Fling

Registration open for April 29-May 1 camp at Lake Doniphan near Excelsior Springs



Kansas City, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will teach outdoor skills at the annual Women’s Spring Fling April 29 to May 1 at Lake Doniphan Conference and Retreat Center near Excelsior Springs, Mo. This weekend retreat provides a safe and friendly environment where women can learn about outdoor recreation.
   Participants will receive hands-on training for activities of their choice such as archery, atlatl, backpacking and camping, canoeing and kayaking, fishing, orienteering and geocaching, outdoor cooking, champion trees and leaf prints, and wild edibles. The Spring Fling is offered to women 18 and older. Young ladies ages 14 to 17 may also participate when accompanied by an adult woman.
   All training provided by MDC staff and volunteers is free. However, there is a $20 registration that is refundable at check in. The registration deadline is April 8.
   Lake Doniphan is a private retreat center, and fees are charged for lodging and meals. The cost depends on accommodations. The center offers hotel-style rooms, dormitory style, rustic cabins with electricity, and camping with electricity.
   MDC connects people with nature. Women’s Spring Fling offers a variety of outdoor activities during the heart of the spring season, a beautiful time to be outdoors.
   For information or to register, contact Lisa LaCombe at 816-655-6263, ext. 1332, orlisa.lacombe@mdc.mo.gov.
   For information about Lake Doniphan, visit http://lakedoniphan.com.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

MDC to host Eagle Days Feb. 6 at Schell-Osage

Schell City, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will host Eagle Days 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 6, at the Schell City Community Center and the MDC’s Schell-Osage Conservation Area. Bald eagles, MDC and the Schell-Osage area are intertwined with the restoration of our nation’s symbol as a nesting bird in Missouri.
   Schell-Osage was one of the two areas used as release sites for young bald eagles from 1980 to 1991. Those eagles matured and along with migrant eagles began to establish nests. Today, nests are found throughout Missouri. The bald eagle has been removed from the nation’s endangered species list, though it remains a species of concern in the state. Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield was also a partner in the eagle release program.
   Eagle Days at Schell-Osage will celebrate nesting birds and the migration of several thousand eagles through the state in winter. The eagles follow waterfowl flocks south and also feed on fish where they find open water.
   Dickerson Park Zoo will have live, captive eagles on display with shows on the hour throughout the day. Zoo staff presents an informative program about eagle traits and their conservation. Captive birds on display give visitors a chance for a close up look at a bald eagle and perhaps a golden eagle. The zoo displays birds that have been injured and cannot be returned to the wild.
   Visitors to the event can also tour MDC’s Schell-Osage Conservation Area to see wild eagles. MDC staff will set up spotting scopes in areas where eagles are frequenting.  The conservation area is in Vernon County, northeast of Nevada, Mo.
   The number of wild eagles using an area depends on weather and the availability of food. About 25 eagles were counted by MDC staff at the area in mid-January.
   For more information, call MDC’s El Dorado Springs office, 417-876-5226.
   For information about these and other Eagle Days events throughout Missouri, and for eagle viewing sites throughout winter, visit mdc.mo.gov/events/eagledays.