Kansas City, Mo. – People who enjoy birds, or those who want to learn about birding, have a new trail to follow. On May 17, birding and conservation advocates dedicated the Great Missouri Birding Trail stop at Burr Oak Woods Nature Center in Blue Springs. The trail is an online guide to the best places in Missouri to observe birds.
Missouri hosts many year-round resident species of birds. But the state’s forests, wetlands and grasslands in the middle of America are also important feeding, nesting and resting places for migratory birds, said Tom Draper, Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) deputy director. The state’s forests, for example, are where some Neotropical songbirds that spend winters in Central or South America come to raise their young in summer.
“This birding trail can connect people with nature and build awareness of the importance of natural systems,” Draper said.
The online Birding Trail map divides the state into regions. Good birding sites in northwest Missouri and western counties are found in the map’s Kansas City region. Burr Oak Woods is one of the stops, as are many MDC conservation areas or other state, county, city, or private natural areas open to the public. A partnership between MDC and the Missouri Bird Conservation Foundation created the trail. Birding experts such as members of the Burroughs Audubon Society of Greater Kansas City helped pick wildlife-rich sites to place on the map.
“The birding trail is not a walking trail,” said Sarah Kendrick, MDC state ornithologist. “But it’s an online guide to good birding sites. Birds are a gateway animal to nature, they’re enjoyed by so many people.”
The Great Missouri Birding Trail website also includes information such as birding tips, beginner basics, landscaping and property improvements for birds, and how to get involved with local bird conservation organizations.
To view the online trail, visit greatmissouribirdingtrail.com. For more information about birding in Missouri, visit https://nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/activities/bird-watching.