MISSOURI — Whether passing through on a migration route or a permanent resident, many species of birds call Missouri home.
For a bird watcher, this means that hundreds of different species are available for viewing year round.
KMZU’s Dan Watson spoke with Elizabeth Stoakes, a former President of the Greater Kansas City Chapter of the Burroughs Audubon Society, to learn which birds to keep an eye out for during each season along with what to bring on a trip for the beginning bird watcher.
Click below to listen to their conversation, which aired
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Spring and fall are the primary migration periods in Missouri, providing bird watchers a chance to see species they would not otherwise encounter the rest of the year.
“Spring around here is a big migration time and so starting in March, early April you want to look for Snow Geese, White Pelicans, Swans. . . but fall a lot of people like to watch for water birds called Sand Pipers and then the birds of prey,” Stoakes explained.
However, summer and winter offer their own unique bird species.
“. . .and then in the summer, you get to where the birds are nesting, they don’t sing as much, they’re harder to find, but we have the Gold Finches. . .you can see some nesting Bald Eagles near the rivers and the big lakes,” Stoakes said, “and then in winter, you have birds in mixed flocks. Get a lot of woodpeckers in the winter time.”
With a variety of habitats available within Missouri, it can be tricky to choose a location for bird watching, but according to Stoakes, a few local parks provide ample opportunity to view Missouri birds.
“Missouri is great, we’ve got a lot of different habitats. We’ve got forest and prairie and wetlands,” Stoakes stated, “Van Meter and Knob Noster and Pershing State Park are all good for forest habitat.”
For any bird watching trip, Stoakes recommends that residents bring binoculars, a field guide and the basic outdoor essentials such as sunscreen and insect repellent. She also advises wearing waterproof boots during each outing.