There’s nothing we enjoy more than introducing you to birds or helping you find things in nature. Our volunteers who lead these field trips work hard to make sure we’re exposing you to a diverse amount of habitats throughout the entire greater Kansas City area and beyond. Field trips visit all the habitats that our birds rely on for their survival – wetlands, woodlands, prairies and grasslands, agriculture, urban, and savannah.
For all field trips, we recommend that you dress for the weather, in layers, and bring water, snacks and insect repellent. In the details, we’ll let you know if you need to bring lunch or lunch money. Almost everything that Burroughs Audubon offers is free, even to non-members.
Some field trips are low-impact and are spent in the car, so if you own any FRS radios, we encourage you to bring them so that bird sightings can be shared between vehicles. Some of the trips are walking trails once you meet. Any questions you have regarding the trips can be answered by the field-trip coordinators or by the volunteer leader of that specific trip.
In addition to Burroughs Field Trips, other nature walks and bird walks are available around the Kansas City Area. Below is a list of locations offering additional trips for your consideration. If you would like your field-trips page listed below please contact Burroughs.
- Backyard Bird Center – Kansas City, Missouri
- Wild Birds Unlimited – Leawood, Kansas
- Overland Park Arboretum – Overland Park, Kansas (Navigate the calendar for Bird Walks)
Check back here for updates on winter trips if the weather is a concern. The website will contain the most up-to-date information.
Sunday, June 2nd – Dunn Ranch and Pawnee Prairie Natural Area
Join Mark McKellar and Ruth Simmons on a search for species such as Upland Sandpiper, Black-billed Cuckoo, Sedge Wren, Henslow’s and Grasshopper Sparrows, and Bobolinks. Meet at 6:00 a.m. in the Liberty commuter lot at I-35 and U.S. 69 Hwy. (Excelsior Springs exit) for carpooling. This will be an all-day trip with moderate walking. Bring insect repellent, lunch, snacks, and beverages. Also, bring FRS radios, if you have them. For more information, contact Mike Stoakes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 816-554-1956.
Saturday, June 8th – Blue River Parkway Breeding Bird Census
Join us as we visit Blue River Parkway and Minor Park to conduct a breeding bird census. We will walk the trails in search of bird species that utilize this habitat during the breeding season to raise young and species that use this habitat year-round. We expect to find vireos, woodpeckers, tanagers, warblers, flycatchers and more on this stroll through this Kansas City park. This census assists KC WildLands as part of a grant and their ongoing mission toward land stewardship around the Kansas City Metro region. Counting birds at this park counts toward volunteer hours for Master Naturalists.
Your leader for this trip is Don Arney. Meet at 7:30 am at the Blue River Parkway Trailhead and Minor Park Tennis Courts parking lot. Dress for the weather and walking along the trails outside. Feel free to bring snacks and beverages in addition to your binoculars. For more information, contact Don at 816-931-8536 or email@example.com.
Tuesday, June 11th – Jerry Smith Park Breeding Bird Census
Join us as we visit this restored prairie and city park to conduct a breeding bird census. We will walk the trails in search of birds that utilize the park only during the breeding season to raise young as well as species that utilize it year-round. We expect to find swallows, flycatchers, woodpeckers, sparrows and more during this walk. This census assists KC WildLands and their ongoing mission toward land stewardship around the Kansas City Metro region. Counting birds at this park counts toward volunteer hours for Master Naturalists.
Your leader for this trip is Sherry Leonardo. Meet at 7:00 am at the Jerry Smith Trailhead Parking lot at the top of the ridge. Dress for walking along the 1.25-mile-long trails. Feel free to bring snacks and beverages in addition to your binoculars. For more information, contact Sherry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, June 15th through Tuesday, June 18th – Sax-Zim Bog and the Northwoods of Minnesota
We’ll look for summer residents birds and explore the ecological variety of the north woods on this trip. We hope to hear and see many nesting warbler species including Ovenbirds, Mourning, Golden-winged, Blackburnian, Magnolia, Chestnut-sided, Black-throated Green, Canada and if we are fortunate Connecticut. We expect to see and hear Yellow-bellied Flycatchers and Veerry and hope to find other northern specialties on this trip. This trip is spread out over four-days but the main part of this trip is all-day Sunday at Sax-Zim Bog with naturalist Clinton Nienhaus. Feel free to join us for all or part of the trip. Participants are responsible for their own travel and lodging arrangements. There are many options around the area to stay but none close to all of the areas we plan to visit so driving each day is expected. You may want to change lodging locations during this trip depending on planned activities and timing of travel.
A more detailed itinerary of this trip will be worked out based on more recent sightings as well as the target species of people planning to attend. The trips will be intentionally split into smaller portions of the days to allow everyone to pick and choose from the prearranged times, target species, and activities planned. A tentative schedule is as follows. Saturday, June 15th is likely a travel day for most people. Malcolm will already be in Minnesota visiting family and if you are arriving early we will likely pick a spot for an evening walk. Sunday, June 16th is at Sax-Zim Bog with Clinton. Each person is expected to contribute $30 toward hiring him for the day. Clinton Nienhaus is a passionate naturalist and full of knowledge that he loves to share. We will have ample opportunity for butterflies, dragonflies, flowers, and plants as we walk and explore the bog looking for year-round residents and summer breeding birds. Monday, June 18th is a flexible date that could include a drive east toward Oberg Mountain in search of Black-throated Blue Warbler, visiting different Black Spruce and Tamarack bogs in search of Boreal Chickadees, a drive north toward Ely and the Superior National Forest for Black-backed Woodpecker, or in search of other targets in Aitkin, Itasca, St. Louis or Lake Counties. Monday evening after supper and into the night we plan to visit McGregor Marsh in search of nesting Nelson’s Sparrows as well as Yellow Rails. Tuesday, June 19th is likely a travel day for most people but you are invited to return to the bog and for a dragonfly workshop. Bring your binoculars, camera, and scope. Bring bug spray, suntan, and layers of clothes for the visit to the north woods Individuals of all skill levels are welcome to attend.
If you are planning to attend this trip, please let Malcolm Gold know via email at email@example.com. If you have any questions about the trip, please contact Malcolm Gold at 608-807-6086 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have questions pertaining to what to expect at the bog and what is needed, contact Clinton Nienhaus at email@example.com.
Friday, October 11th through Sunday, October 13th – Cheyenne Bottoms, Quivira, and hopefully Sprague’s Pipits
We’ll predominantly be looking for southbound migrating birds as they stop-over at these two important wetlands and the areas surrounding Central Kansas. We expect to see a wide diversity of Shorebirds and Waterfowl, hope that Burrowing Owls have not left, hope to find some other western species, and are intentionally targeting Sprague’s Pipits with the help of Joseph Miller. This trip is spread out over three-days but the main part of this trip is all-day Saturday. Feel free to join us for all or just part of the trip. Participants are responsible for their own travel and lodging arrangements around Great Bend, KS. There are many options around the area to stay, feel free to shop around but Malcolm has been very pleased with the rate and service at the Quality Inn. Rooms are available for individual reservations at the Quality Inn at the rate of $65.99 for 2 queen beds or $64 for 1 queen bed on either or both the 11th and 12th. There is a 24-hour cancellation policy for any rooms at this rate with the Quality Inn which is pet-friendly, has a tiny pool, and offers breakfast in the morning. In addition, this hotel will be the meeting location for the half-day trip departures. For those who wish to carpool to Great Bend please contact Malcolm to find out who is going or coordinate with others on the Friends of Burroughs Audubon Society Facebook page.
A more detailed itinerary for the trip will be posted in the future so that you may pick and choose from the prearranged dates and times. The tentative schedule is as follows. Friday, October 11th early evening to Cheyenne Bottoms CB for shorebirds and waterfowl before listening for Owls. Saturday, October 12th, sunrise start at Quivira. Meeting Joseph Miller in Reno County to walk fields with hopes of flushing and observing Sprague’s Pipits. Saturday afternoon and evening is yet to be determined, but it might include a search for Black-billed Magpies. A late evening supper social will be planned back in Great Bend to end the day. On Sunday, October 13th we will plan to start at Cheyenne Bottoms and end by noon. Bring your scope, camera, binoculars, bug spray, suntan, snacks and drinks for a weekend at these great locations. Individuals of all skill levels are welcome to attend. If you are planning to attend this trip, please let Malcolm Gold know via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, contact Malcolm at 608-807-6086 or email@example.com.
Brief reports from past Field Trips
We encourage you to share your experience with others. Add your photos to the trip list within eBird, share them on social media, and invite your friends to an upcoming trip.
5/16/19 – An early morning walk at Antioch Park found a few migrants including Wilson’s, Nashville, and Tennesee Warblers as well as a Blue-headed Vireo.
5/15/19 – Twenty individuals walked the Mill Creek Streamway near Nelson Island and then checked flooded fields in Shawnee. A dozen shorebirds and a dozen Warblers species were found among the nearly 80 species. Brief appearances by a Yellow-Bellied Flycatcher, a Golden-winged Warbler, a Mourning Warbler, a Western Sandpiper, and a Worm-eating Warbler were seen by few but missed by most.
5/10/19 – A soggy Blue River trail kept the group of 10 near the perimeter of the Minor Park tennis court parking area and on drier upland paths, but many birds were seen in this edge habitat. Some nice looks at a beautiful adult Red-shouldered Hawk, Blue-headed Vireo, and female Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. As on the Jerry Smith Trip, east met west in kingbird fashion. After sizing up each other, the Eastern Kingbird seemed to own the rights to the field where both were foraging.
5/9/19 – The group braved November-like temps and wind chills to do a migrating bird census at Jerry Smith Park. Highlights were good looks at a Lark Sparrow, 2 Blue-headed Vireos, 3 Yellow Warblers and 3 Clay-colored Sparrows which included life birds for some. We also saw an Eastern and Western Kingbirds perched close together simultaneously.
5/8/19 – Recent rains eliminated all shorebird habitat at KCPL Wetlands. Calling Willow Flycatcher and Sora highlighted a short walk squeezed between rain in heavy overcast skies.
5/1/19 – Heavy fog limited visibility and recent rains eliminated shorebird habitat at KCPL Wetlands in Gardner Kansas, yet bird diversity has increased with spring migration. Following up on information from Aaron Batterbee, the group headed north along Waverly after the morning walk and enjoyed views of a male Bobolink.
4/28/19 – Despite a chill breeze, nineteen people enjoyed driving the repaired auto tour loop at Loess Bluffs NWR. Highlights included great views of a mixed flock of swallows on the road and scope views of a perched Peregrine Falcon and two Black-necked Stilts. Also, killer looks at a Great Horned Owl (killer looks at a great killer).
4/26/19 – A few migrants were found along the Tomahawk Creek Trail in Leawood Kansas, but for many on the walk the stars of the walk were the nesting summer residents and their nests which were still visible with trees not fully leafed out.
4/24/19 – Participants enjoyed calm winds and a mixed flock of shorebirds at KCP&L Wetlands. An American Bittern and Sora flewby the group and all 5 expected swallow species were flying over the ponds.
4/17/19 – Strong southerly winds and overcast skies didn’t yield many shorebirds at KCP&L wetlands, but a single Baird’s Sandpiper and singing Brown Thrashers were fun to look at none the less for the sixteen strong.
4/10/19 – A beautiful spring morning at KCP&L Wetlands was enjoyed by 14 people. A couple of migrating sparrows and the return of additional swallow species were different from the previous week, but likely the highlight was watching a beautiful pair of Eastern Bluebirds enter a nesting cavity in one of the dead willows.
4/3/19 – A dozen people walked KCPL Wetlands and enjoyed a few early migrants and the return of summer residents. During the walk a handful of Pectoral Sandpipers flew in, a pair of Green-winged Teal flew in, and the Brown Thrasher sang after we walked past the habitat reminding us the first look doesn’t always reveal the fluid state of what is present.
3/22/19 – 3/24/19 – Seven people enjoyed the Sandhill Crane migration trip to Grand Island, Nebraska from March 22 to March 24. The group enjoyed thousands of Sandhill Cranes feeding, bowing, dancing and roosting along the Platte River Friday. Other birds of note included a Whooping Crane that was seen multiple times. Hundreds of waterfowl of twenty species were found in the flooded fields and ponds in the area. Red-breasted Nuthatch, Oregon Dark-eyed Junco, Pink-sided Dark-eyed Junco, and Yellow-headed Blackbird were found at the Crane Trust Nature Center. A nature art show was also enjoyed at the Crane Trust with painters, photographers and woodcarvers in attendance to talk about their craft. Raptors included numerous Red-tailed Hawks, a Harlan’s Red-tailed Hawk, Bald Eagles, Northern Harriers, American Kestrels, Cooper’s and Sharp-shinned Hawk. Saturday night was washed out and it rained all night leaving the trip to Taylor Ranch questionable. But the rains quit just in time and 4 wheel drive allowed us to find and watch Greater Prairie Chickens strutting on the lek to the chorus of numerous Western Meadowlarks early Sunday morning. A grand total of 55 species were seen in Hall County Nebraska. Thanks to everyone who helped us plan and execute this trip that never fails to amaze.
3/20/19 – Sherry Leonardo held an impromptu field trip at dusk for American Woodcocks for individuals that couldn’t attend the field trip on the 15th. Eleven people attended and all were able to see and hear the displays and calls.
3/16/19 – Northbound migrants are starting to show up. A few first of year birds (such as Barn Swallow, Turkey Vulture, and Eastern Phoebe) were observed among the 66 species seen in western Missouri during a beautiful and calm spring day.
3/15/19 – Nearly two dozen people gathered to watch the American Woodcocks peent and display at Jerry Smith Park in Jackson County Missouri. This display is a favorite for many long-time birders and was observed by eleven for the first time this night.
3/2/19 – Fourteen individuals searched areas around Clinton Lake and Perry Lake in Douglas and Jefferson Counties for waterfowl and gulls. The wind coming off the lake with cold temperatures made it a challenge to stay outside too long and a limited diversity of species was observed. Studying through different ages of Herring and Ring-billed Gulls is a wonderful learning opportunity though.
2/9/19 – Twelve people, including four from BAS, joined Topeka Audubon Society (TAS) on a joint trip to Shawnee State Fishing Lake (SFL) and Banner Creek Lake/Wetlands. With the exception of a bit of open water at Banner Creek Lake in Holton, KS waterfowl numbers were low because of frozen water. A highlight of the trip was a nice dark-morph Rough-legged Hawk at Shawnee SFL. Many thanks to Debbie McKee and Mark Pheasant of TAS for hosting this trip for the second year-in-a-row. A Long-Tailed Duck was observed at Perry Lake on the way home.
2/2/19 – Following up on recent reports of winter gulls and waterfowl, a short-notice field trip was offered to Hillsdale Lake. The trip exceeded attendance expectations with 16 people and another handful joining the group for parts of the beautiful morning. Waterfowl and gulls were numerous and the female Long-Tailed Duck that has been present for a couple of months was refound.
1/27/19 – Six individuals walked the trails at Jerry Smith Park and conducted the winter bird census for KC WildLands. Among the 27 species, a Sharp-shinned Hawk harassed a flyover Red-tailed hawk and the Eastern Bluebirds serenaded the group throughout the morning.
1/26/19 – Five people walked the trails at Minor Park and conducted a winter bird census for KC WildLands. A Winter Wren and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker were nice cold-weather visitors from the north.
1/20/19 – Five people scanned Wyandotte County Lake for waterfowl and the surrounding woods and feeder station before part of the group volunteered at Eagle Days. The number of all five expected geese species was amazing as was having both native Swan species.
1/01/19 – Four people spent a chilly New Years morning around Fleming Park pursuing the first birds of the new year. Highlights included a small flock of Common Mergansers and Cedar Waxwings, a nice look at a Swamp Sparrow after it flew across an arm of Blue Springs Lake to (apparently) have a look at us and a couple of Fox Sparrows at the BAS Library and Nature Center.
Have ideas? Please share them with us.
If you love getting out in nature and are interested in leading or co-leading a trip, if you have ideas of where a group could visit, or perhaps if you have a specific species in mind that you would like to see then please contact Burroughs. Direct your inquiry toward the field trip coordinators and they will get in contact with you to see what can be done.
Alternatively feel free share your ideas with the coordinators the next time you see them in the field. The coordinators are Mike Stoakes and Malcolm Gold.