By the time February rolls around, it seems like most people are tired of winter and ready for the warm rays of summer. I vividly remember the first week of school after summer break when the teacher would ask us about our summer vacation. There were lots of Disney Worlds and Colorado mountains or some tropical destination, but my report was often the same. I would colorfully recount my family’s annual pilgrimage to Bryant Creek in Douglas County to camp, fish, and explore wild Missouri.
Each summer, a generous family would allow us to camp on their property in Douglas County, and we lovingly named the area Squeaky Hollow. It got the memorable name because two old sycamores would scrape together in the wind and create an eerie sound, which made us think the headless horseman would be riding up to our campfire at any minute. It was there at Squeaky Hollow where I first heard the wild, monkey-like call of the barred owl — a sound that seemed more fitting for the jungle than southwest Missouri (learn about the eastern screech-owl).
I was captivated as a kid by the barred owl’s call and still find it fascinating to this day, especially in spring when I might hear an old gobbler answer back with a call of his own. Now that is true music to my ears! It means spring has finally arrived after a long, cold winter, and with it, the music of the woods befitting a new season. I’ll be listening closely for the call. I hope you will be, too.
Sara Parker Pauley, Director
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