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State of Missouri

E Bluebird
Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis ©Robert Royse Website

Located in the centre of the United States, Missouri offers a wide range of habitats and diversity of avifauna. The state is poised at the edge of the Great Plains on the west, and hardwood forests of the eastern US. Missouri's weather and wildlife is strongly influenced by the great rivers of the American Midwest, the Mississippi and the Missouri.

The state may be divided into two major regions by the west to east passage of the Missouri river. The northern third of Missouri (north of the River) is composed of glaciated plains. These gently rolling lands have, for the most part, been cleared of pre-settlement prairies and riparian woods in preparation for extensive farming. Birds seen in this zone range from Lark Sparrow, and Western Meadowlark at the dry western extremes through Loggerhead Shrike, Dickcissel and other open area species in the centre, to edge/hardwood forest species in the east.

The south central portion (south of the Missouri River) contains the more rugged terrain of the Ozarks. The eastern half of this region includes dense hardwood forests populated with a variety of Woodpeckers, Wood Thrush, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Kentucky Warblers, and Tufted Titmice (to name but a few). The White River Cedar Glades near the southwestern border of the state contain the highest concentrations of Greater Roadrunners, Prairie Warblers, Blue Grosbeaks, & Painted Buntings.

The southeastern portion of the state (known locally as the boot heel) is composed of Mississippi lowlands. Most of the swampy forests typical of this area have been converted to agricultural use, and the area presently has some of the highest concentrations of Killdeer, American Kestrels, Horned Larks, Red-Winged Blackbirds, and European Starlings in the state.

The west central portions of Missouri are blessed with surviving remnants of the native Tall Grass prairies once common to much of pre-settlement Missouri. In addition to many of the bird species seen in glaciated plains, this region is also home to Scissor-Tailed Flycatchers, Bell's Vireos, and prairie specific birds like Greater Prairie Chicken, Upland Sandpiper, Short-Eared Owl, Grasshopper Sparrow and Henslow's Sparrow.

Much of the remainder of the state is Missouri and Mississippi River Lowlands. These river floodplain regions have been significantly developed by the hand of man, leaving the rivers channelized, leveed, locked and dammed to a point where little of the dynamic character of these important bodies of water remains today. Some of the species with greatest abundance in these areas include Yellow Warbler, American Redstart, Warbling Vireo, Least Tern, Fish Crow, Western Kingbird, and Yellow-Headed Blackbird. The Mississippi River lowlands also rest within a major migratory flyway for a variety of species.

The 1998 revision of the Annotated Checklist of Missouri Birds shows 397 species positively identified in the state. Nineteen additional hypotheticals boost the total to well over 400. Spring and Fall migrations see a wide ranging variety of eastern and western birds moving through the state. Forty-one species of Wood Warblers have been reported in Missouri, along with 22 Sparrow species, 10 Thrushes, 14 flycatchers, 9 owls, 22 Raptors, and scores of waterfowl, gulls, and shorebirds. Some of the latest additions to this list include Anna's Hummingbird, Eurasian Collared Doves, and Smew.

Nearly every corner of Missouri has something unique to offer the serious birder. The state is home to four National Wildlife Refuges: Squaw Creek, Swan Lake, Clarence Cannon, and Mingo, and countless Conservation areas managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation. Some favourite areas frequented by Missouri birders include (but certainly are not limited to) Eagle bluffs Conservation Area near Columbia, Riverlands Environmental Demonstration Area in West Alton, Schell-Osage Conservation Area near Nevada, Lake Jacomo near Kansas City, Otter Slough Conservation Area near Dexter, & Taberville Prairie near Sedalia.

Missouri accommodates an active birding community, which avails us of many useful resources. The Audubon Society of Missouri (ASM) serves as the state's major ornithological organization. This body maintains an up-to-date annotated checklist of Missouri Birds, and serves as the repository for rare bird sighting data. An e-mail listserve known as MOBIRDS is hosted by ASM, and serves the Missouri birding community as a rapid, efficient means to distribute rare bird sightings to interested individuals via the internet. Subscription information for this service is available on the ASM website at the address shown below. Spending a bit of time at the following web sites goes a long way toward helping one understand what birding is like in Missouri, but it's nothing like actually doing it! Come join us, and we'll be proud to share the best we have with you!

Contributor

Mike Beck

Webmaster of the Audubon Society of Missouri

Additional Material

grosbeak@discoverynet.com

http://www.mobirds.org/

Jim Malone

St. Louis MO

stlaud@surfbest.net

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 435

As of September 2016

Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web

Useful Reading

A Guide to Bird Finding in Kansas and Western Missouri

John L. Zimmerman, Sebastian T. Patti, Robert M. Mengel (Illustrator)Hardcover - 244 pages (April 1988) University Press of Kansas

ISBN: 0700603662

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of Missouri

Their Distribution and Abundance MB Robbins and DA Easterlea 397 pages, b/w photos, distribution maps. University of Missouri Press 1991

ISBN: 082620791X

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Useful Information

State Bird

Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis

Forums & Mailing Lists

MOBIRDS-L

Mailing List

The ASM has made available and e-mail listserv service for interested birders from throughout the region. This service is available to anyone with an e-mail connection to the internet. It provides up-to-the-minute information from birders through out the region, the opportunity to ask questions and to hold conversations of interest to all.

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Birding Pal

Information

Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…

Trip Reports

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2012 [05 May] - Steve Hilton

Report PDF

…We saw 17 of the 18 species of breeding warblers in the Ozarks (where was that Prothonotary Warbler when we needed it?), as well as Henslow’s Sparrow, Bell’s Vireo, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, a pair of Swainson’s Flycatchers on the prairies, and three species of egrets flying over the Prairie State Park. Ozark highlights included Scarlet Tanagers, several Cerulean Warblers, two Worm-eating Warblers, a pair of Swainson’s Warblers, a remarkable migration of Catharus thrushes that included a Veery and large numbers of Swainson’s Thrushes in Lost Valley, and a beautiful morning at the Drury-Mincy Glade with Prairie Warbler, Blue Grosbeak, a Magnolia Warbler, and delicate little calamints along the roadside—and this was just the first three days…

2013 [05 May] - Steve Hilty

Report PDF

Arthur barely stirred as we bundled him into the car at 0600. A calling Common Nighthawk was a nice first bird and we took that as a good omen. Mingo greeted us with overcast skies and a cool wind. A Worm-eating Warbler popped out of the brush giving us a great look…

2015 [07 July] - Petri Hottola

Report PDF

In 2015, 15th to 18th July, I visited the state of Missouri, USA, for birdwatching. It was a short visit, only three-and-half days, because of my rather short list of target species: Greater Prairie Chicken! I did, nevertheless, see a number of other interesting birds and mammals at Dunn Ranch Prairie, Hatfield area and Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, along the Missouri-Iowa-Nebraska borderlands, and would therefore like to share the experiences and information gained at these locations.

Places to Stay

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Cedarcroft Farm B&B

Accommodation

RELAX in a thermal massage tub next to a real wood-burning fireplace, extensive snack, special gifts, full breakfast; it`s not your imagination of what a B&B should offer, it`s Cedarcroft`s Cottage on the Knoll! There`s a king-size canopy bed, assorted popular movies, satellite television, watching the birds and other wildlife from the front porch glider swing. Or stroll through our 80 secluded acres…

Cinnamon Hill B&B

Accommodation

Spacious comfortable home located on wooded site within walking distance of Table Rock lake. Watch the birds while a large country breakfast is served…

Organisations

Audubohn Missouri

Website

Missouri has had a long tradition of Audubon activity, beginning with the establishment of the Audubon Society of Missouri in 1901 and the St. Louis Bird Club in 1916 and Burroughs Nature Club in Kansas City in 1919. These groups affiliated informally with the National Audubon Society, which was established in 1905….

Audubon Society of Missouri

Website

The Audubon Society of Missouri is a state-wide organisation affiliated with the National Audubon Society and dedicated to the preservation and protection of birds and other wildlife forms.

Audubon in Missouri

Website

Audubon's local chapters can bring you bird walks, advocacy campaigns, nature outings, educational programs and other events. And with more than 500 chapters around the country, there's likely to be one nearby…

Burroughs Audubon Society

Website

You'll find information about birdwatching opportunities in the Kansas City area, including rare bird sightings, hotspots, field trips and bird walks. You can learn more about our Nature Centre or our Audubon Adventures program for children. We've also included excerpts from our newsletter, Wingbeat, and information on how to become a member of Burroughs.

Columbia Audubon Society

Website

The Columbia Audubon Society was organized in 1958 and serves 6 counties: Audrain, Boone, Cooper, Howard, Monroe, and Randolph. Our mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity…

East Ozarks Audubon Society

Website

The East Ozarks Audubon Society encompasses the Missouri counties of St. Francois, Iron, Madison, Ste. Genevieve, Reynolds and Washington. The chapter is an affiliate of the National Audubon Society and the Audubon Society of Missouri. The chapter also works closely with “Audubon Missouri,” the state agency of the National Audubon Society.

Grand River Audubon Society

Information

851 Glenwood, Chillicothe, MO 64601 - Terry McNeely

Greater Ozarks Audubon Society

Website

A very nice site for this local chapter with images of the scissors-tailed flycatcher and when they meet and so on.

Midland Empire Audubon Society

Facebook Page

The Midland EmpireAudubon Society is a chapter of the National Audubon Society, serving NW Missouri, promoting conservation of birds, wildlife and habitat.

Missouri Bird Records Committee

Website

Missouri Bird Records Committee members listed…

Nature Conservatory in Missouri

Website

Welcome to the Missouri Chapter of The Nature Conservancy! Here you'll find information on the many ways we're working with the people of the state and the nation to help preserve the diversity of living things by protecting the habitats - land, water, and air - in which they live…

Ozark Rivers Chapter of the National Audubon Society

Website

The Ozark Rivers Chapter of the National Audubon Society was formed in 1975 and over the past 27 years our Chapter has been committed to birds, education, and habitat preservation and restoration across the Ozarks…

Ozark Gateway Audubon Society

Facebook Page

305 W. Bishop, Carl Junction, MO 64834, 417-438-6213- Ozark Gateway Audubon Society is the local chapter and part of the National Audubon Society…

River Bluffs Audubon Society

Website

The River Bluffs Audubon Society is a chapter of the National Audubon Society serving approximately 300 Audubon members in the central Missouri counties of Callaway, Cole, Maries, Moniteau and southern Boone County. The River Bluffs chapter meets in Missouri's capital city, Jefferson City.

Scenic Rivers Audubon Society

Information

Poplar Bluff, MO 63901

St Louis Audubon Society

Website

The St. Louis Audubon Society (SLAS) was established in 1916 as the St. Louis Bird Club. In 1944, the Bird Club became the first local Audubon chapter in the United States. Today, the chapter consists of over 2500 members in 7 counties of Missouri and Illinois. The aims of the St. Louis Audubon Society are to: 1) Conserve native plants, animals, and their habitats; 2) Understand the environmental interrelationships of man with these natural resources and abiotic resources like soil, air, and water; 3) Promote and support the protection and conservation of our local, regional, and global natural systems; and 4) Support conservation and environmental research.

Webster Groves Nature Study Society

Website

The Webster Groves Nature Study Society (WGNSS) is a not-for-profit organization of amateur naturalists interested in the plants, insects, and birds of the Saint Louis, Missouri, area.

Reserves

Bell Mountain Wilderness

Webpage

Satellite View

The 9,143-acre Bell Mountain Wilderness is part of the St. Francois Mountains, one of the oldest landforms in North America. This is mostly old-growth, oak and hickory forest, with pine and elm, grassy glades, and granite outcroppings.

Burr Oak Woods Nature Center

Webpage

Satellite View

Discover Nature at Burr Oak Woods! Burr Oak Woods is a showplace for Missouri's fish, forests and wildlife -- a natural oasis in your own backyard, just 1 mile north of I-70 and minutes from downtown Kansas City.

Conservation Commission of Missouri

Information

Missouri is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts or just plain folks who enjoy a walk in the woods. With hundreds of conservation and natural areas, state parks and Mark Twain National Forest lands, you can pursue your favorite outdoor activity close to home or across the state…

Mingo NWR

Webpage

Satellite View

The 21,592-acre refuge lies in a basin formed in an ancient channel of the Mississippi River. Mingo National Wildlife Refuge is recognized as an Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society as the refuge supports bird species and habitats that are of conservation priority...

Missouri State Parks

Information

For more than 80 years, the Missouri state park system has preserved and made available to the people of Missouri the best of our state's natural and cultural resources. The mission of the Missouri state park system is to preserve and interpret the state's most outstanding natural landscapes and cultural landmarks, and to provide outdoor recreational opportunities. Preserving Missouri's Natural Landscapes.

Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Facebook Page

Satellite View

Designated as an Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society, the Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary encompasses a total of 3700 acres. Within the Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary is a 1200 acre wetland/prairie restoration project.

Shaw Nature Reserve

Website

Satellite View

Walking down Brush Creek Trail you will notice some changes including our newest constructed wetlands…

Squaw Creek NWR

Website

Satellite View

Welcome to the website for the Friends of the Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge located near Mound City, Missouri…

Blogs

Conservation Conversations

Blog

Reflections on environmental education, wildlife issues, and birds; primarily of Southwest Missouri…

Search & Serendipity

Blog

David Ringer's Birding BLOG

Urban Birder

Blog

BLOG: reflections, notes, and an occasional rant from Saint Louis, Missouri…

World Bird Sanctuary

Blog

Our mission is to preserve the earth’s biological diversity and to secure the future of threatened bird species in their natural environments. We work to fulfill that mission through education, captive breeding, field studies and rehabilitation…

Other Links

Greater Prairie chicken

Information

A minimum of 4,000 to 5,000 acres of open grassland is believed necessary to support a stable population. As a result, several well managed farms are normally required to provide adequate acreage for a self-sustaining flock…

Missouri Birds

Website

Missouribirds.com serves the backyard bird enthusiast of Missouri. If you enjoy feeding and watching birds in your yard or local park then we hope to provide you with information to enhance the enjoyment of your hobby…

Sky Cafe

Website

Bird food and feeders etc…

Song Bird Garden

Website

Bird feed etc..

The Bald Eagle in Missouri

PDF