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Every week there are new marvels to look for in the outdoors, and Discover Nature highlights these attractions. The Missouri Department of Conservation’s Josh Hartwig brings us the stories of river otters, luna moths, red buds, and other actors as they take center stage in nature’s theater.You can hear Discover Nature, Mondays at 7:42 a.m. and 5:18 p.m.

Discover Nature: The Sounds of Winter

Missouri Department of Conservation
Tufted Titmouse

Discover nature this week with Missouri’s ‘sounds of winter’.

Grab your coat, scarf and gloves and get outside to take in the true 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 -- if you choose to brave the cold.

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.

More information about winter in Missouri can be found online at mdc.mo.gov.

Josh Hartwig is the host of Discover Nature and a media specialist for the Missouri Department of Conservation.
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