How Well Do You Know Your State?
We all recognize the bald eagle as a symbol of the United States. Symbols such as this represent the cultural heritage and natural treasures of each state or the entire USA. States also recognize icons and emblems like state flags, seals, flowers, and animals. Did you know Missouri designated the North American Bullfrog as the official state amphibian in 2005? Here are some known and little-known facts about the state symbols of Missouri, according to the State Symbols USA organization (www.statesymbolsusa.org).
State Bird: Eastern Bluebird
In 1927 Missouri designated the eastern bluebird as the official state bird. The Eastern bluebird is a medium sized songbird, with a short tail, chunky body, large round head, short black bill, a reddish-orange chest, and blue wings and tail (the female is a drab gray-blue with duller reddish chest, and juveniles have a spotted chest and back). The bluebird’s song is a rich warbling whistle broken into short phrases (Tu-wheet-tudu) or a dry chatter.
State Animal: Missouri Mule
On May 31, 1995, Governor Mel Carnahan signed a bill designating the Missouri mule as the official state animal. The mule is a hybrid–the offspring of a mare (female horse) and a jack (male donkey). After its introduction to the state in the 1820’s, the mule quickly became popular with farmers and settlers because of its hardy nature. Missouri mules pulled pioneer wagons to the Wild West during the 19th century and played a crucial role in moving troops and supplies in World Wars I and II.
State Aquatic Animal: Paddlefish
Missouri designated the paddlefish as the official state aquatic animal in 1997. Paddlefish are one of the oldest fish known to man. Missouri has paddlefish in the slow-flowing waters of the Mississippi, Missouri and Osage rivers.
State Game Bird: Bobwhite quail
The bobwhite quail was designated the official state game bird of Missouri in 2007.