Field Trips

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 include a diverse selection of locations from city parks, state parks, conservation areas, wildlife areas, and national wildlife refuges. We also expose you to 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

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.


Upcoming Trips




Saturday November 25th – Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Mound City, MO

We’ll witness multitudes of Snow Geese and waterfowl, as well as dozens of Bald Eagles. We’ll gather at the Loess Bluffs visitor center around 8:45 a.m., and begin our first trip around the refuge’s 10-mile auto tour loop at 9:00-ish. We’ll return to the visitor center around 12:30 p.m. for lunch and restrooms before making a second pass around the loop in the afternoon. Bring a sack lunch, snacks, optics, field guides, and FRS radios. Dress in layers, as conditions are often cold and windy at this time of year.

The leader of this trip is Mike Stoakes. For carpooling, meet at 7:30 a.m. at the Platte City commuter lot. For more information, contact Mike at or 816-554-1956.




Saturday December 2nd – Lyon, Coffey, and Osage Counties with Matt Gearheart

We’ll meet at 7 am in the parking lot in front of PetSmart near I-35 and 119th St in Olathe to carpool and caravan for this all day trip.  Matt will lead us on a great day of birding with stops around Melvern Reservoir, Lyon County State Fishing Lake, and John Redmond Reservoir in search of winter species such as Smith’s Longspurs, grebes, loons, scoters, gulls, shrikes, sparrows, and Long-eared Owls.

Bring food, beverages, and FRS radios for this all day trip.  If participants are interested, traditionally some stop at Guy and Mae’s Tavern in Williamsburg afterwards for BBQ ribs and to compile a trip total.  For more information, contact Matt at or (913) 568-4678.


Sunday December 10th – Smithville Lake 1 pm to 4 pm

Because fall and early winter are such great times for waterfowl migration, we will be visiting Smithville Lake each month to keep tabs on what is coming and going.  We should see great diversity as the gulls, loons, grebes, ducks, geese and raptor populations constantly change during the course of this season.

The leaders for this joint trip with Backyard Bird Center are Mark McKellar and Mary Nemecek.  Meet at the Jerry Litton Visitor Center at 1 pm.  There is a $5 daily Vehicle Entry Fee if you don’t have a pass. For more information, contact Mary at


December 14th through January 4th – Christmas Bird Count Season

Consider being part of the “Nation’s longest running citizen science bird project” and joining a local count.  A list dates for counts can be found on the links below.  Select individual regional count information is shared here as well.

Kansas Counts (Link will be added once it becomes available)

Missouri Counts

National Counts


Saturday December 16th – Trimble CBC – Read Instructions below

Parties and territories will be assigned before the day of the count, so please contact the compiler before December 13. Feeder watchers welcome, too! Contact Kristi Mayo at if you would like to participate or have any questions.


Sunday December 17th – Bonner Springs/Lansing CBC

Parties and territories may be assigned before the day of the count, so please contact the coordinator if interested in participating in this count.  Contact John Bollin at if you would like to participate or have any questions.


Sunday December 31st – Kansas City CBC – Read message below

Dear prospective KC CBC’ers,

The 118th Christmas Bird Count season is rapidly approaching! As KC compiler, I would like to invite birders of all levels to participate again, or for the first time. Here are a few details to consider:

* Count day and date: Sunday, December 31.

* The KC count area is a 15-mile diameter circle centered on Unity Village and divided into eight (8) sections.

* Participation involves a traveling count, typically on foot, but in some areas by automobile.

* Feeder watching in the suburban environs of Raytown and Lee’s Summit is encouraged for those area residents who may have trouble getting out.

* New birders, first time participants and others who so request will be placed with experienced counters.

* Section assignments and section leaders will be identified and information exchanged between participants and leaders after signing up.

* A post-count compilation dinner will be held at the Perkins restaurant in Lee’s Summit (Hwys. 50 & 291) for those who still have (or need) the energy.

* Winter weather may slow us down, but nothing short of a major ice storm or blizzard will cause the count to be canceled and rescheduled.

* Section assignments will remain the same for previous participants, unless otherwise requested. I ask that new participants remain flexible in accepting section assignments. If you indicate a preference, I’ll make every effort to place you in the section where you want to count.

Please contact Mike Stoakes to sign up or to request more information; 816-554-1956 or



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.


11/12/2017 – Thirteen people scanned Smithville and found a couple of winter rarities; a Red-throated Loon and Surf Scoter mixed in with 30 other species. 

10/8/2017 – Eight participants enjoyed the gorgeous fall weather and surveyed Smithville Lake; they found 24 species including a juvenile Peregrine Falcon, a Snowy Egret, and many gulls.

10/4/2017 – During the fall Census of Jerry Smith Park four participants found 27 species consisting of some early fall migrants as well as summer residents. 

9/30/2017 – Enjoying a gorgeous fall morning at Baker Wetlands the 17 participants observed 57 species including a Le Conte’s Sparrow south of the Discovery Center. 

9/10/2017 – Participants enjoyed the wonderful weather, a couple of gull species, and fishing Osprey at Smithville Lake.

8/15/2017 to 8/17/2017 – A total of 26 different people participated in half day trips spread over three days around Cheyenne Bottoms WA, Quivira NWR, and central Kansas and found 120+ species. Highlights from the trip included 5 owl species, King Rails, and Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks.  

8/12/2017 – An Olive-sided Flycatcher was among the 39 species seen at Prairie Center by 9 people in Olathe, Kansas.

7/7/2017 – Ten people enjoyed the prairie flowers of the flint hills; they saw 30 species at Mt Mitchell and many more along Skyline drive in Wabaunsee County, Kansas.

6/17/2017 – Summer resident species were counted by 7 people at Blue River Parkway in Kansas City, Missouri. They tallied 39 species in the couple hour walk.

6/14/2017 – During the summer census at Jerry Smith Park in Kansas City, Missouri 5 people found 34 species.

6/4/2017 – Twenty-One people enjoyed the prairie habitat around Dunn Ranch in Harrison County, Missouri. They found a Black-billed Cuckoo, Henslow’s Sparrows, Bobolinks, and others among 54 species.



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.

Picture of field trip coordinators; Rodney Wright, Mike Stoakes, and Malcolm Gold

(L to R) Rodney Wright, 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 Rodney Wright, Mike Stoakes, and Malcolm Gold.