Field Trips

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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.  

Photo of a field trip enjoying sunrise at Hillsdale Lake

Sunrise at Hillsdale Lake during a fall Field Trip.

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.


Upcoming Trips

June 2018


Someday between June and August – Date to be determined – Prairie Center

We will walk the trails of Prairie Center and enjoy the breeding birds, insects, plants, and sounds of this re-established prairie for a morning/half-day trip. Meet at the Prairie Center parking lot at the corner of 135th St and Cedar Niles Rd. There are two small creek crossings on this hike where the water level depends on the weather conditions. Here is the list of birds seen from last year. 

The leader for this trip is Nic Allen. Nic’s contact information will be added to this webpage once the date and time is set. 


Sunday June 3rd – Dunn Ranch and Pawnee Prairie Natural Area

Join us as we 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.

The leaders for this trip are Mark McKellar and Ruth Simmons. Contact Mike Stoakes for more information ( or 816-554-1956).


Saturday June 9th – Blue River Parkway Breeding Bird Census

We will meet at 7:30 am at the Blue River Parkway Trailhead and Minor Park Tennis Courts parking lot and search the Blue River looking for summer residents that breed in Jackson County. We will spend the morning walking the trails searching for Vireos, Woodpeckers, Tanagers and whatever else is there. Dress for the weather and walking along the trails outside. Feel free to bring snacks and beverages.

The leader of this trip is Don Arney. For more information, contact Don at 816-931-8536 or


Tuesday June 12th – Jerry Smith Park Breeding Bird Census

We will meet at 7:30 am at the Jerry Smith Trailhead Parking lot at the top of the ridge and search this largely undeveloped city park for summer residents that breed around Jackson County. To get to the Parking lot drive east on 139th St from Holmes Avenue and go approximately 0.75 mile; take the 2nd left on Prospect Ave up the hill to the small gravel parking lot. The observations from this census assists KC Wildlands and are part of their ongoing monitoring and mission toward land stewardship around the Kansas City Metro region. Dress for the weather and walking along the trails outside, feel free to bring snacks and beverages. Moderate walking along a mile and half trail should be expected for this trip.

The leader of this trip is Sherry Leonardo. For more information, contact Sherry at



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.


5/22/2018 – A short walk around KCP&L Wetlands yielded three different types of flycatchers for the 8 participants among the 50 species. Overall there was a low diversity of shorebirds but the group had excellent views of Bell’s Vireos.

5/18/2018 – A leisurely walk below the dam at Shawnee Mission Park and stop near the Boy Scout Camp 1 yielded a few species and Chuck-will’s-widows for the 22 participants. The group was unsuccessful in hearing Eastern Whip-poor-wills at Blackhoof Park. 

5/17/2018 – A large group commandeered the multi-use trail at Tomahawk Park to enjoy both breeding birds and migrants. Blackburnian Warblers and a nest-building Ruby-throated Hummingbird were the highlights from this morning walk.

5/15/2018 – Ten individuals walked the paved trails of Blackhoof Park and enjoyed 75 species. Many warblers were heard but few were seen well. An Olive-sided Flycatcher provided nice views for everyone.

5/12/2018 – Nineteen individuals surveyed Fort Leavenworth. A total of 94 species, including 14 Warblers, and a wonderful mixture of migrant and summer residents of grassland, riparian, and hardwood forest floodplain were observed. This is a unique habitat and the sheer number of American Redstarts and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks observed on the lowlands makes this a trip everyone should experience. 

5/11/2018 – Three participants enjoyed a variety of waders, waterfowl, raptors, and passerines on the Blue River Parkway Spring Migration Census. Highlights included a flyover by a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, two Green Herons flying together, and a Broad-winged Hawk. A male Wood Duck perching in a large Sycamore tree, a number of first-of-season Yellow-billed Cuckoos and 14 different warbler species were observed! Join us again at this site on Saturday, June 9 for the Breeding Bird Census.

5/10/2018 – A group of five people observed 99 species around Hillsdale Lake. A singing Pine Warbler was observed by one person who arrived a bit early while others were out listening to Chuck-will’s-widows.

5/8/2018 – Fifty-three species of migrants and resident songbirds were observed by 10 individuals at Antioch Park.

5/8/2018 – Forty-seven species of mostly migrant and resident songbirds were observed by 5 individuals on the Jerry Smith Park Spring Migration Census. Good looks (and vocalizations) at Least Flycatcher and House Wren. Join us again at this site on Tuesday, June 12 for the Breeding Bird Census.

5/3/2018 – Approximately 50 species of diverse migrant Warblers, Vireos, lingering sparrows and summer residents were observed by 11 individuals at Shannon Valley Park in Overland Park. 

4/28/2018 – Twelve individuals searched Neosho Wildlife Area and found 98 different species!  Included in the species included a Neotropic Cormorant and many shorebirds.

4/26/2018 – Eight individuals enjoyed the calm, but brisk, morning at Tomahawk Park. Only a handful of migrant passerines were found among the 38 species.

4/24/2018 – Five individuals enjoyed a nice hike around Shawnee Mission Park, finding a male Lesser Goldfinch among 45 other species!

4/21/2018 – Twelve individuals the autoloop at Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge and ended with 95 species for the day.  A Piping Plover among many shorebirds, a hybrid Cinnamon Teal among the waterfowl, sparrows, and a Broad-Winged Hawk to start the day were the highlights.

4/17/2018 – A cold morning walk at KCP&L Wetlands in Gardner yielded 37 species for the seven participants. If the habitat remains as nice as it is now we expect a good variety of shorebirds to show up here, but future morning walks this year will be at various other locations.  A Yellow-headed Blackbird and variety of shorebirds highlighted this trip.

4/15/2018 – A group of four hardy souls drove through snow to arrive at Four Rivers Conservation Area and occasionally left the warmth cars to scan the amazing habitat with scopes. A Peregrine Falcon hunting the flats at the headquarters, numerous shorebirds at Presidents Marsh, and a surprise Long-tailed Duck highlighted the 72 species trip.

3/17/2018 – Nine people gathered for a windy and overcast St. Patrick’s Day field trip through the Osage Plains of Cass and Henry Counties in western MO. Migratory waterfowl were well represented in nearly all areas visited, but the highlights of day involved perusing grassy areas of recent managed and unplanned burns. Many birds are attracted to such landscapes by the killed invertebrates, small vertebrates, and seeds that are readily accessible in the immediate aftermath of a fire. Species observed utilizing burned areas on Saturday included Killdeer, Northern Flicker, Horned Lark, Eastern Bluebird, American Robin, American Pipit, American Tree Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, White-crowned Sparrow, Harris’s Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Brown-headed Cowbird, and Rusty Blackbird.

3/9/2018 – 16 people gathered at Prairie Center in Olathe to view American Woodcocks. For six high school students and three others this was the first time seeing that species!

3/7/2018 – On a cool but relatively calm night 9 individuals enjoyed the calling, flight displays, and observations of American Woodcocks and Jerry Smith Park.

2/24/2018 – Overcast skies, a light drizzle, and fog were made it challenging to find gulls at Clinton Lake. A group of 14 people were unable to relocate the juvenile Black-Legged Kittiwake that has been around but did find a pair of Glaucous Gulls and a White-Winged Scoter among the almost 60 species.

2/17/2018 – Nineteen people enjoyed this joint trip to Shawnee State Fishing Lake and Banner Creek, areas. Rough-Legged Hawks, waterfowl, and sparrows were found across many locations.

1/23/2018 – Three participants conducted a winter survey of Jerry Smith park and found 24 species during a couple hour walk.  A beautiful photo of an overwintering Hermit Thrush is included in this checklist.

1/21/2018 – Fifteen people spent the morning scoping Wyandotte County lake and walking a few trails finding over 40 species and a nice diversity of waterfowl.

1/20/2018 On icy and muddy trails, six folks joining the Blue River Parkway Winter Bird Census found 31 species along a 1.6-mile stretch of the Blue River corridor, including Bald Eagle, Belted Kingfisher, Winter Wren, and Hermit Thrush.

2017 Trip Reports and Year Totals


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.

Field trip coordinators Mike Stoakes and Malcolm Gold

(L to R) Mike Stoakes and Malcolm Gold

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.