The World's Best Birdwatcher

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Published on: Dec. 2, 2003

Last revision: Nov. 16, 2010

valleys of that country. I still wonder how the plant had made its way to Missouri."

Advancing age and world terrorism slowed Winter's global birdwatching expeditions, but he and his wife, Gloria, who accompanied him on many of his treks, still occasionally travel to foreign lands. When they do, Winter typically adds another bird or two to his life list.

And what a list it is! Among the species Winter has seen, the standouts include:

  • A parrot and an antbird that had been so recently discovered that they had not yet been named by ornithologists.
  • The spectacularly plumaged birds of paradise.
  • A bird that uses volcanic heat to incubate its eggs.
  • Another bird that builds a nest of saliva.
  • Eagles carrying monkeys as food for young chicks in the nest.
  • The resplendent quetzal of Central America and the striking blue hyacinth macaw of Brazil.
  • The amazing wandering albatross, which sometimes literally flies around the world.

A decorated U.S. Navy pilot, Winter flew 77 combat missions in the Pacific during World War II. He returned to Missouri after the war and, with his brother, founded a successful sand and gravel business.

Winter considers himself extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel the world while looking for birds. His bluebird project is one of many ways he is giving back to the state that has been so good to him. Years ago, the family donated Robert A. Winter Park and George Winter Park, the latter named after Pete Winter's father, to the St. Louis County parks system. The family has also provided scenic easements for hiking and biking trails along the Meramec Greenway.

Winter Brothers Material Company owned the land that the Missouri Department of Conservation purchased along Interstate 44 in St. Louis County. That property is now Forest 44 Conservation Area.

Winter is donating all proceeds from the sale of his new book, Dawn Chorus: The Adventures of a Birdwatcher, to the Winter Brothers Charitable Foundation to finance park land benefaction and conservation projects in Missouri. triangle


Learn more about Missouri's fascinating birds and plants and build your own "lifelists" of the species you've seen with the help of Conservation Department publications.

Birds in Missouri is a comprehensive guide to 354 bird species in Missouri, including resident, part-time resident and migrant species.The book provides identifying characteristics and range maps. The softcover edition of Birds in Missouri costs $30 and the hardcover edition costs $38, plus shipping and handling, and tax, where applicable.

Missouri Wildflowers provides 297 stunning photographs of wildflowers commonly found in the state.The book also provides plant characteristics, habitat preferences and range of each species,making plant identification easier.The softcover book costs $12, plus shipping and handling, and tax, where applicable.

The books are available at Conservation Nature Centers and most regional offices, or you can order them from the Nature Shop, Department of Conservation, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City,MO 65102-0180 or by calling, toll-free, (877) 521-8632. It's easy to visit the Nature Shop online.

The 16-page Bluebirds of Missouri booklet provides lots of interesting information about bluebird nesting behavior and food and habitat preferences. It also includes plans for building bluebird houses. "Bluebirds of Missouri" is available free by writing Publications, P.O. Box 180, JC 65102-0180 or by emailing

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