Grab your coat, scarf and gloves (maybe even your earmuffs and hand warmers, too), and head outdoors to take in the sounds of the season.
We often think of winter as a quiet time in nature. Chilling winds suppress any desire to wander outside. But the sounds of winter are waiting to be heard, on mild or chilly days.
Crisp, crunching snow gives way underfoot as you venture outdoors. You may be greeted by squirrels squabbling with cawing blue jays as scolding titmice and chickadees mingle nearby.
You may hear the thin, lispy calls of cedar waxwings as they forage for cedar or holly berries. Their red-tipped wings and yellow tailbands make cedar waxwings attractive, if not musical.
As evening approaches, you may hear other sounds in the forest. The descending whinny of a screech-owl cuts through the darkness, while the deep hooting of great horned or barred owls remind you that life has not disappeared from the winter woods. A slow, silent walk may be rewarded with the wail of coyotes.
As falling snow blankets your footprints, it may be time to return to the warmth of a crackling fire. Though it’s difficult to leave your cozy home for a winter walk, there are distinct sounds of nature to discover during this “quiet” time of year.
Find out about more animals and their sounds in the MDC’s Field Guide.
Learn more about the eastern screech-owl in this Missouri Conservationist article.