Wings Over Weston draws good crowds for free festival

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Kansas City
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Weston, Mo. – Birds cooperated, and so did the weather, at the annual Wings Over Weston birding festival May 13 at Weston Bend State Park. The event drew almost 600 attendees and dozens of volunteers. Visitors saw captive raptors. Children made bird houses or did a craft project to get a free bird feeder. Families went on guided birding hikes or visited educational booths about birds and wildlife habitat, including habitat for butterflies.

“We’ve had lots of families who are engaged with nature and want to help the environment and wildlife habitat,” said Wendy Parrett, education specialist for the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC).

Parrett and Missouri Master Naturalist volunteers staffed a booth about monarch butterfly habitat, complete with live butterflies and caterpillars on display. While supplies lasted, they passed out free milkweed seedlings, the plant that hosts monarch eggs and caterpillars.

“We’ve had quite a few kids come through who already know about milkweed and the connection with butterflies,” Parrett said. “That’s encouraging.”

Wings Over Weston is organized by the Burroughs Audubon Society of Greater Kansas City in partnership with Missouri State Parks. MDC is also a partner for the free event along with other public and private conservation or civic organizations. The goal is to celebrate birds and the habitat that supports them. Some attendees are already bird experts, while many are just learning about birds.

Christine Kline, festival co-chair for Burroughs Audubon, said she enjoys when young people take an interest in birds.  A favorite moment for Kline was when a boy explained to her how the sun makes an indigo bunting’s black feathers appear blue.

“I love it when they already know things like that,” Kline said.

To learn more about Missouri birds and places to see wild birds, visit