Birdwatching

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Four women birdwatching; all are looking through binoculars
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Birding is popular because it’s easy to get started, and it offers increasingly greater rewards the more you learn. It’s also an inexpensive hobby — a field guide and pair of binoculars are all you need.

Read on for tips on how to get started identifying Missouri's birds around your home or out in the field. This section provides information on:

  • Birdwatching tools
  • Identifying birds
  • Bird behavior and habitats
  • Great places to watch birds in Missouri
  • MDC bird-related events
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Featured Topics
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Woman with Binoculars
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Learn about binoculars and field guides as well as birding apps and other helpful tools.

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Photo of a prairie warbler perched on a red cedar sprig
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Learn key features that will help you tell bird species apart.

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Upload and store your bird sightings in this online database and view sightings of other birders around the world. 

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The Great Missouri Birding Trail was created to show birders the best places to find birds around the state. 

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Great Places For Birdwatching

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Wood at McClure CA
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The original 232 acre tract was donated to the Conservation Department by the late Leafa McClur

Birding Events

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Displaying 1 - 23 of 23
Date: Saturday, April 13, 2024 12:30 pm - Saturday, April 13, 2024 2:00 pm
Location: Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center
No registration required (ages 12+) Owls are without a doubt some of the most fascinating raptors we have the experience to observe in Missouri! MDC and Missouri River Bird Observatory partner to investigate the mysteries of these regal birds. Join us to learn more about owl species and conservation efforts to support owl populations. Wild Souls Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation and a special live animal education ambassador will be joining us. It'll be a hoot! If accommodations are needed, please e-mail the instructor at least one week prior to the program.
Registration period: March 11 - April 12
Date: Tuesday, April 16, 2024 6:30 pm - Tuesday, April 16, 2024 8:00 pm
Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center
Create a unique, wearable work-of-art using a turkey feather. Not only will you take home a personal souvenir, but you will also learn about turkey hunting in Missouri. This is a hands-on class and participants must be at least 16 years of age to participate.
Registration period: April 1 - April 18
Date: Thursday, April 18, 2024 8:00 am - Thursday, April 18, 2024 10:00 am
Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center
Join MDC naturalists and area birders as we discover the avian life that calls Runge home. These short birding walks are for all experience levels. We will gather near the front doors of the nature center. Binoculars and field guides will be provided for those that need them. Registration preferred. Ages 8+
Registration period: April 1 - April 24
Date: Wednesday, April 24, 2024 1:00 pm - Wednesday, April 24, 2024 2:00 pm
Location: Online only
Hummingbirds are beautiful and unique birds. Discover more about these tiny fliers and learn how to attract these magnificent little jewels to your yard or garden.
Registration period: April 1 - April 26
Date: Friday, April 26, 2024 8:00 am - Friday, April 26, 2024 10:00 am
Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center
Join MDC naturalists and area birders as we discover the avian life that calls Runge home. These short birding walks are for all experience levels. We will gather near the front doors of the nature center. Binoculars and field guides will be provided for those that need them. Registration preferred. Ages 8+
Date: Thursday, May 2, 2024 9:00 am - Thursday, May 2, 2024 11:00 am
Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center
Volunteer Naturalist Myra Scroggs will help you find migrating birds during this indoor and outdoor program. Ages 7 to adult.
Registration period: April 15 - May 2
Date: Thursday, May 2, 2024 5:30 pm - Thursday, May 2, 2024 7:30 pm
Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center
Join MDC naturalists and area birders as we discover the avian life that calls Runge home. These short birding walks are for all experience levels. We will gather near the front doors of the nature center. Binoculars and field guides will be provided for those that need them. Registration preferred. Ages 8+
Registration period: April 1 - May 3
Date: Saturday, May 4, 2024 8:00 am - Saturday, May 4, 2024 9:30 am
Location: Forest Park-Kennedy Forest

Share the experience of spring bird migration with us! Kennedy Forest in Forest Park attracts a high concentration of beautiful birds, and it's a "collector" for these birds escaping the concrete of the city. They will be looking for food, hopping around in the trees, and singing their little hearts out. How do they have enough energy and spunk to be singing after flying hundreds, if not thousands of miles?

If migration allows, we will be in for a spectacular show of colors, patterns, energy, and endurance! We will be moving very slowly through the forest along 0.5 miles of blacktop trail and boardwalks, looking for and learning about warblers, buntings, orioles, grosbeaks, flycatchers, and more!

We encourage all to attend. No prior bird knowledge required. Dress for the weather, bring a water bottle, bird field guide, and binoculars if you have them. There will be a limited number of binoculars to borrow.

**We will meet at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Forest. We'll meet near the corner of Wells Drive and the road leading to the Forest Park Picnic Pavilion #11. Park on Wells Drive.**

Please register each participant individually.
Registration period: April 1 - May 3
Date: Saturday, May 4, 2024 10:00 am - Saturday, May 4, 2024 11:30 am
Location: Forest Park-Kennedy Forest

Share the experience of spring bird migration with us! Kennedy Forest in Forest Park attracts a high concentration of beautiful birds, and it's a "collector" for these birds escaping the concrete of the city. They will be looking for food, hopping around in the trees, and singing their little hearts out. How do they have enough energy and spunk to be singing after flying hundreds, if not thousands of miles?

If migration allows, we will be in for a spectacular show of colors, patterns, energy, and endurance! We will be moving slowly through the forest and savannah along 1.5 miles on established trails and stairs, looking for and learning about warblers, buntings, orioles, grosbeaks, flycatchers, and more!

We encourage all to attend. No prior bird knowledge required. Dress for the weather, bring a water bottle, bird field guide, and binoculars if you have them. There will be a limited number of binoculars to borrow.

**We will meet at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Forest. We'll meet near the corner of Wells Drive and the road leading to the Forest Park Picnic Pavilion #11. Park on Wells Drive.**

Please register each participant individually.
Date: Saturday, May 4, 2024 10:30 am - Saturday, May 4, 2024 1:30 pm
Location: St. Louis Public Library- Kingshighway Library
Celebrate World Migratory Bird Day! We will have free and fun activities for adults and children alike. Discover ways you can help bird conservation at the Howard Woods Urban Outreach Office, Brightside Demo Garden, and St. Louis Public Library- Kingshighway Branch to earn a bird-friendly prize.
Registration period: March 19 - May 5
Date: Thursday, May 9, 2024 7:00 am - Thursday, May 9, 2024 11:00 am
Location: Big Buffalo Creek CA

SPRING WARBLER DAY

BIRDING AT BIG BUFFALO CREEK

Experience how managed woodlands support a variety of wildlife, including 25+ species of warblers!

Get ready for a fun and informative morning in the Big Buffalo Creek Conservation Area! This 3,000+acre wooded watershed is an outstanding example in western Missouri where forest-woodland habitats sustain a healthy Ozark stream system. These habitats support numerous resident and migratory songbirds, many of which are facing alarming population declines.

Join us for Spring Warbler Day, a morning of birding in the Big Buffalo Creek Watershed Priority Geography. Bring your binoculars, sturdy shoes, tick spray, and a sense of adventure! Birding trails include a 1.5-mile rocky dirt trail with uneven terrain and some steep slopes.

MDC Natural History Biologists are present to guide and answer questions on birds, wildlife, natural communities, and land management.

All levels of birders welcome!

Limited to 10 Participants

Meet at Campground on Big Buffalo Creek Road

BIG BUFFALO CREEK CONSERVATION AREA

Thursday, May 9th

7:00am- 11am

Campground on

Big Buffalo Rd

Registration period: May 1 - May 10
Date: Friday, May 10, 2024 8:00 am - Friday, May 10, 2024 10:00 am
Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center
Join MDC naturalists and area birders as we discover the avian life that calls Runge home. These short birding walks are for all experience levels. We will gather near the front doors of the nature center. Binoculars and field guides will be provided for those that need them. Registration preferred. Ages 8+
Registration period: March 29 - May 10
Date: Friday, May 10, 2024 11:30 am - Friday, May 10, 2024 12:30 pm
Location: Online only

Join us during your lunchtime for a virtual program on birds!

From heroic acts to being messengers, and symbols from good and bad, birds are important characters in legends, folklore, and mythology. Celebrate Migratory Bird Day by discovering the beauty and glory of birds in Missouri. Learn how their histories, personalities, and their influence has impacted how they are perceived and seen by mankind.

An email will be sent with the link a day before the program by noon. If you register after that time, another link will be sent the morning of the program to ensure everyone has the correct link to join.
Registration period: April 1 - May 10
Date: Saturday, May 11, 2024 8:00 am - Saturday, May 11, 2024 10:00 am
Location: Shoal Creek Conservation Education Center
Enjoy coffee and learning about birds? Join us at Shoal Creek Conservation Center for Birds and Brews! This partnership program gives anyone (14 years old and older) an opportunity to enjoy some bird friendly coffee and explore the world of spring bird migration through a short walk by Shoal Creek. The easy rated walk will be about a 1 mile long on some uneven trail surfaces. Bring your binoculars or a pair can be provided during the program. Registration is required. This event is hosted by the Missouri Department of Conservation, Ozark Gateway Audubon Chapter, and Wildcat Glades Nature Group.
Registration period: March 6 - May 10
Date: Saturday, May 11, 2024 9:00 am - Saturday, May 11, 2024 11:30 am
Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

An early stage social engagement session for persons with early stage dementia and their care partner. Did you know that getting outdoors, interacting with nature, and learning new skills have shown to have positive benefits for individuals living with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia? Join us at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 11, 2024 to learn the basics of birding. This session will include tips for using binoculars, ways to identify bird songs and how to use a field guide. This slow-paced, gentle walk will be held on the Farkleberry Knob Trail, a quarter-mile paved trail at the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center in North County Park. We will also discuss how being outdoors can benefit those living with dementia and their caregivers. You may bring your own binoculars, or a pair will be provided for you.

This is a cooperative program with the Greater Missouri Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.

Registration period: April 2 - May 15
Date: Wednesday, May 15, 2024 10:00 am - Wednesday, May 15, 2024 12:00 pm
Location: Twin Pines Conservation Education Center
Brown-headed nuthatches require a healthy, stable pine-woodland habitat — something Missouri had mostly lost but has been gradually regaining. Now that our state has restored some of its pine woodlands, approximately 100 birds were reintroduced in the Mark Twain National Forest between 2020 and 2021, and survival monitoring of the brown-headed nuthatches continues to present day. If this species is deemed a successful reintroduction, it will be considered a permanent resident of Missouri as it is nonmigratory. Join us as we discuss these intriguing birds while you paint your own water-color picture of the brown-headed nuthatch.
Registration period: May 1 - May 16
Date: Thursday, May 16, 2024 8:00 am - Thursday, May 16, 2024 10:00 am
Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center
Join MDC naturalists and area birders as we discover the avian life that calls Runge home. These short birding walks are for all experience levels. We will gather near the front doors of the nature center. Binoculars and field guides will be provided for those that need them. Registration preferred. Ages 8+
Date: Saturday, May 18, 2024 8:00 am - Saturday, May 18, 2024 11:00 am
Location: Rockwoods Reservation

Join us for breakfast while enjoying the birds and blooms of Rockwoods Reservation! Come and take a stroll through the newly renovated native wildflower gardens around the Visitor Center while enjoying a doughnut and a cup of shade-grown, bird-friendly coffee! Naturalists will be available to share information about the flowers and how you can grow them in your yards or container gardens. Also, spring is an excellent time to see and hear the wonderful birds of Rockwoods! Learn how to identify those birds using the Merlin bird identification app. Naturalists will also be sharing tips on what you can do to protect birds and help them thrive, including that coffee that you will be enjoying! All are welcome to stop by for a few minutes or spend some time relaxing with us enjoying the sights and sounds of spring!

Meet at the Visitor Center.

All are welcome! No reservations are required.
Registration period: April 11 - May 17
Date: Saturday, May 18, 2024 8:00 am - Saturday, May 18, 2024 12:00 pm
Location: Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center
It is finally springtime, and the birds are out and about finding food plus we are in the heart of spring migration. Join us on a hike to see the birds in action. We will meet at the front door to the nature center. We will then proceed to the trail for a hike to bird. We will keep our eyes out for spring wildflowers as well. Beginners and all experience levels welcome. Dress for the weather & bring your own binoculars, snacks, and drinks. Folks can leave anytime, if they have had enough.
Registration period: April 10 - May 18
Date: Saturday, May 18, 2024 8:30 am - Saturday, May 18, 2024 10:30 am
Location: Springfield Conservation Nature Center
Learn some birding basics, including how to use binoculars properly, and get some identification tips. We'll start with a short presentation in the classroom and then hit the trails to look for birds.
Registration period: May 1 - May 22
Date: Wednesday, May 22, 2024 8:00 am - Wednesday, May 22, 2024 10:00 am
Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center
Join MDC naturalists and area birders as we discover the avian life that calls Runge home. These short birding walks are for all experience levels. We will gather near the front doors of the nature center. Binoculars and field guides will be provided for those that need them. Registration preferred. Ages 8+
Registration period: May 1 - May 29
Date: Wednesday, May 29, 2024 8:30 am - Wednesday, May 29, 2024 12:00 pm
Location: Runge Conservation Nature Center
Do you love biking… and birding? Then this program is for you. Join us as we go for a leisurely ride to look for birds on Mokane Road in Callaway County, just north of Jefferson City. Mokane Road is one of the top birding hotspots in Central Missouri. This program is for birders of all experience levels. We will meet at Carl R Noren Access before carpooling to our starting point. Binoculars, bikes, and helmets will be provided for all that need them. Make sure to bring a water bottle. Participants under the age of 18 attending the program without an adult (18+) will need a signed permission form to take part in the program. Registration required. Ages 15+
Date: Friday, August 2, 2024 6:30 pm - Friday, August 2, 2024 7:30 pm
Location: Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Join photographer Paul Moffett in exploring the birds of the confluence. After retirement Paul started work on documenting, via photography, the birds of the confluence area. He's documented over 300 specimens in that 20 mile stretch between the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers confluence and the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers confluence. He volunteers for Audubon at Riverlands primarily working with the Swan Society and Missouri Department of Conservation.

This program is part of our Nature Center @ Night series, the building will remain open until 7:30pm.
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Missouri's winter eagle watching is spectacular. Find places to view eagles on your own, or join us at some of the many Eagle Days events scheduled around the state.

Eagle Days Events

There are no events scheduled at this time.