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)
- Bird by Birds Kansas City Birding Meetup – Kansas City Metro Area
Check back here for updates on winter trips if the weather is a concern. The website will contain the most up-to-date information.
Additional fall, winter, and spring field trips will be added to the website once they are finalized with trip leaders. We appreciate your excitement for upcoming field trips and ask for patience as we get the new ones planned.
Wednesday, October 16th – Jerry Smith Park Fall Migration Bird Census
Join us as we visit this restored prairie and city park to conduct a migratory bird census. We will walk the trails in search of migrating Warblers, Vireos, Flycatchers, Thrushes and whatever else is there. 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.
The leader for this trip is Sherry Leonardo. Meet at 8 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 email@example.com.
Saturday, October 19th – Clinton Lake Outlet Park
We’ll walk the field searching for LeConte’s Sparrow, Nelson’s Sparrow, Marsh Wren, Sedge Wren, and other southbound migrants and winter residents. This walk is about a mile in wet conditions through tall grass. Rubber boots and rain pants are advised if you have them. The half-day trip will continue to Baker Wetlands, Clinton Lake, or another neighboring location mid-morning and the trip will end by lunch. Individuals of all skill levels are welcome to attend.
The leader for this trip is Rodney Wright. For carpooling meet at Wendy’s located northeast of the Woodland Drive and K-10 intersection in Lenexa Kansas at 6:30 am. Alternatively, meet at the Clinton International Model Airport shortly after 7 am. For additional information, contact Rodney at (913) 548-1486.
Saturday, November 30th – Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge
Witness multitudes of Snow Geese and waterfowl, as well as dozens of Bald Eagles. Meet at the Loess Bluffs Welcome Center around 8:45 a.m., and we’ll begin our first trip around the refuge’s 10-mile auto tour loop around 9:00. We’ll return to the visitor center around 12:30 p.m. to use the picnic tables 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. Individuals of all skill levels are welcome to attend.
Your leader for 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 816-554-1956.
Saturday, December 7th – Lyon, Coffey, and Osage Counties
This trip consists of birding by car with stops around Melvern Reservoir, a short bit of walking around Lyon County State Fishing Lake, and stops around John Redmond Reservoir in search of winter species such as Smith’s Longspurs, grebes, loons, scoters, gulls, shrikes, sparrows, Long-eared Owl and Short-eared Owls. Bring food, beverages, and FRS radios for this all-day trip. If interested, some participants traditionally stop at Guy and Mae’s Tavern in Williamsburg afterwards for BBQ ribs and to compile a trip total. Individuals of all skill levels are welcome to attend. Meet at 7 am in the parking lot in front of PetSmart near I-35 and 119th in Overland Park to carpool and caravan for this all-day trip.
The leader for this trip is Matt Gearheart. For more information, contact Matt at email@example.com or 913-568-4678.
Saturday, February 29th – Clinton Reservoir and Perry Lake
Join us as we scan Clinton Reservoir and Perry Lake for waterfowl, gulls, and raptors and check other locations for sparrows, shrikes, finches, and whatever else is around. Bring all the usual items, including binoculars, scopes, FRS radios, drinks, snacks, cold weather gear (lakes are always windy places and it’s still February). We will bird Clinton in the morning, then stop for lunch at a local venue(usually Jason’s Deli). We will continue to Perry for an afternoon of birding. There is a $5 daily Vehicle Entry Fee for Clinton State Park if you don’t have a pass. And remember it is always nice to chip in for gas if you are carpooling. This is an all day trip but you’re welcome to participate as long as you like.
Your leader for this trip is Mark Land. Meet at 7:30 am at Wendy’s north of K-10 on Woodland Drive for carpooling and to caravan west. If coming from other areas, we will meet at the Corp of Engineers office at the Clinton State Park entrance shortly after 8 am. For more information, contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org or 816-590- 9814.
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.
10/11/19 –10/13/19 – Twenty-one birders visited central Kansas with a visit to Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area Friday night, a visit to Quiviria National Wildlife Refuge Saturday, a visit to a private field (with permission) on Saturday, and back to Cheyenne Bottoms on Sunday morning. Highlights include 5 Sabine’s gulls across Saturday and Sunday, a King Rail on Saturday, Sprague’s Pipits on Saturday, a Rock Wren Friday, and a Clark’s Grebe on Sunday. The group observed 109 species across the 3 days.
9/21/19 – Seven birders visited woodlands and Blackwater River watershed wetlands on a relatively subdued (few migrants) but rain-free day of birding in Johnson and Pettis Counties in western Missouri. Highlights included at least one Red-shouldered Hawk at each stop, Pileated Woodpecker, abundant Red-headed Woodpeckers, and Sandhill Cranes.
9/15/19 – A calm fall morning walk around Roe Park resulted in a few southbound migrants such as Swainson’s Thrush, Olive-sided Flycatcher, and Wilson’s Warbler. A highlight was the adult Red-shouldered Hawk that sat in the open while being harassed by four Blue Jays.
9/5/19 – Eight birders enjoyed walking part of Lake Vista Trail in Fleming Park on a beautiful September morning. Highlights include Yellow-bill Cuckoo, Swainson’s Thrush, Yellow-bellied and Least Flycatchers and a nice warbler list of Northern Parula, American Redstart and Prothonotary, Wilson’s, Blackburnian and Chestnut-sided Warblers.
6/11/19 – Nine birders joined Sherry Leonardo on the Jerry Smith Park breeding bird census. Highlights on this beautiful, low-humidity morning included nice looks at a family of Pileated Woodpeckers and being teased by one or more singing Henslows Sparrows which remained hidden from view.
6/8/19 – Twelve people participated in the Blue River Parkway breeding bird census with Don Arney. A muddy-in-places trail and a high water crossing made hiking conditions somewhat challenging, but highlights included good looks at a young Barred Owl and a pair of Louisiana Waterthrushes.
6/2/19 – Twenty participants enjoyed beautiful weather and scenery at Dunn Ranch and Pawnee Prairie Natural Area. Bird highlights included Upland Sandpiper, Black-billed Cuckoo, Red-headed Woodpecker, Sedge Wren, Loggerhead Shrike, Grasshopper Sparrow, and many Dickcissels and Bobolinks. We even found a nesting Killdeer and Willow Flycatcher.
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.