Up Front with Sara Parker Pauley

By Sara Parker Pauley | March 1, 2022
From Missouri Conservationist: March 2022

Even in middle age, I’m childlike when it comes to snow — not the light, dusting kind, but the blanketing kind that broad brushes the landscape entirely and silences the world. Most of Missouri got a late winter snow like this a few weeks ago. And though I love the stillness that such a snow brings, I was relieved by the song of a cardinal the next morning, reminding me that life still abounds, and spring is coming soon.

I came across a 2007 BBC special recently that featured scientists arguing with musicians on why birds really sing — to attract mates and keep rivals away, said the scientists. Yes, and because it brings them joy, said the musicians. Back and forth they presented their cases. Why couldn’t both be true? As musician David Rothenberg noted, “the seemingly innocent topic of bird song shows us that we need a combination of many visions of nature to make sense of the whole.”

But many of our feathered earthly companions are in trouble. We’ve lost nearly 30 percent of all birds since 1970 and even some common species such as sparrows are in decline. To learn more about this plight and what you can do to turn the tide, MDC ornithologist Sarah Kendrick’s article on Page 10 will shed light and hope.

As poet Douglas Malloch reminds us, “You have to believe in happiness or happiness never comes. Ah, that's the reason a bird can sing, on his darkest day he believes in spring.”

Sara Parker Pauley, Director



This Issue's Staff

Magazine Manager - Stephanie Thurber
Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Associate Editor - Larry Archer
Photography Editor - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek
Staff Writer – Dianne Van Dien
Designer - Shawn Carey
Designer - Marci Porter
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Circulation - Laura Scheuler