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      Nature Report: The Eyes Have It

      The yellow gold eyes of a bobcat reflect the late afternoon light as the thirsty cat laps up the tepid water.

      It is this life shine in a creature's eye that gives us pause, a special glimpse into the natural world and the fascinating creatures that inhabit it. South Texas birds exhibit a variety of eye color from the bright orange eyes of the curve-billed thrasher to the soft brown shade of the pyrrhuloxia. A birds iris includes million's of pigment cells and contains a variety of compounds including melanin and other substances that work in combination through reflection, refraction, and scattering to give each bird its unique eye color. The coopers hawk's eyes gleam a reddish hue, and like many birds of prey they are able to see some eight times as well as man. It has been said that if a hawk could read, it would be able to read a newspaper from seven stories high. White tailed deer have some of the most beautiful eyes in nature. They are big and dark brown with long lashes, and they don't miss much in the way of movement. Cottontail rabbits have exceptionally alert eyes, and even as they slack their thirst they are scanning for any danger as there just might be a predator lurking nearby. Indeed, a diamondback rattlesnake lies in ambush, its unblinking golden eye revealing nothing. However, the snake does not have stellar vision and relies more on heat seeking pits to locate its quarry. And when it comes to detecting danger, six eyes are better than two, and not much is going to escape the attention of these bright-eyed ground squirrels. If you really want to appreciate the fascinating variety of wildlife in deep South Texas then the "eyes have it." With your Nature Report I'm Richard Moore