Field Trips

  Please utilize MASKS, DISTANCING, AND/OR NO CARPOOLING as noted or as you are comfortable with

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

Check back here for updates on trips if the weather is a concern. The website will contain the most up-to-date information. Additional field trips will be added to the website once they are finalized with trip leaders. We appreciate your excitement for upcoming field trips and appreciate that you check this website for more information as fall and winter trips are added.




Saturday, November 25th – Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER

Join us on this driving trip around the refuge’s 10-mile auto tour loop. We’ll witness multitudes of Snow Geese, Trumpeter Swans, and other waterfowl, as well as dozens of Bald Eagles. Bring a sack lunch, snacks, optics, field guides, and FRS radios. After lunch, we’ll retrace the tour route around the loop and, possibly, visit other nearby areas. Dress in layers, as conditions are often cold and windy at this time of year.

Your leader for this trip is Mike Stoakes. Meet at the Loess Buffs welcome center around 8:45 a.m. For more information, contact Mike at or call/text 816-283-6258.




Saturday, December 2nd – 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 PetSmart Parking lot off I-35 and 119th in Olathe to carpool and caravan for this all-day trip. The leader for this trip is Matt Gearheart. For more information, contact Matt at or 913-568-4678.


Tuesday, December 5th – Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

Join us for walk on the wilder side of the Arboretum. We’ll search for winter residents like Purple Finch, Brown Creeper, and Winter Wren. The Arboretum’s feeder station has previously (and briefly) hosted some uncommon guests, like the Evening Grosbeak of a few years ago. Some paved, but mostly mulched and gravel trails over uneven terrain.

Your leader for this trip is Mike Stoakes. Meet at 9:00 a.m. at the ticket kiosk (free admission Tuesday) near the old visitor center. For more information, contact Mike at or call/text 816-283-6258.


  Please utilize MASKS, DISTANCING, AND/OR NO CARPOOLING as noted or as you are comfortable with


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. If you attended a trip in the past and wish the eBird checklist to be shared with you please send an email request to malcolmgold AT

11/7/23 – Fifteen birders enjoyed unseasonably warm temps and calm winds at the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens on this free admission day. Winter residents are arriving as evidenced by Dark-eyed Juncos, White-throated, White-crowned, and Fox Sparrows. Birders had nice, eye-level views of a Brown Creeper, as well.

10/27/23 – Six birders braved cold winds and unexpected showers to conduct the 12th annual fall bird census at Jerry Smith Park. They saw a nice variety of sparrows: LeConte’s, Lincoln’s, Fox, Swamp, Song and White-throated. Pine Siskins were seen among flocks of Goldfinches. Numerous skeins of Snow Geese passed overhead, too.

10/21/23 – Five individuals attended a Beginner Birding and Intro to Nature Adventurepack Program offered at the Agricultural Hall of Fame.

10/21/23 – A large group of nearly thirty people gathered below Clinton Lake dam to search for Sparrows. With calm weather everyone in the group had cooperative LeConte’s Sparrows. Few wrens were seen and limited number of other sparrows before a quick scan of the lake reveal only a few early southbound waterfowl.

10/15/23 – A half dozen individuals enjoyed a couple hour morning walk at Kaw Point Park and a good diversity of early winter sparrows and late southbound migrants.

10/11/23 – A half dozen individuals enjoyed unseasonably warm weather for a midweek trip around the northeast Kansas Clinton and Perry Reservoirs looking at Gulls.

10/9/23 – Fifteen individuals walked the trails at Blue Spring Wetlands and enjoyed approximately 50 species.

10/3/23 – Fifteen individuals took advantage of the monthly free admission to Overland Park Arboretum and a leisurely mile and half stroll along the trails observing both resident species and a couple of south bound migrants.

9/24/23 – Thirteen individuals gathered at Burr Oak Woods Conservation area. Other than a few south bound migrating raptors we observed resident species on this gorgeous morning.

9/23/23 – Ten individuals attended a Beginner Birding and Intro to Nature Adventurepack Program offered at the Bonner Springs Library. 

9/13/23 – Fifteen individuals slowly strolled the paved pathways of Tomahawk Park in Leawood Kansas looking for southbound migrants. Large flocks of Cedar Waxwings and a couple warblers and vireos mixed in with multispecies flocks were the avian highlights of a cool calm fall morning.

9/2/23 – Fifteen individuals gathered at Hillsdale Reservoir in Miami County Kansas to look through southbound flocks of shorebirds on exposed mud flats. We got our feet muddy walking along the edge of the lake at Brown Wetlands and then scanned from the point at Antioch Marsh

8/27/23 – In a joint field trip with Wild Birds Unlimited, twenty two individuals walked at Prairie Center in Olathe and found a smattering of southbound migrants. Flycatchers were abundant, with wits and pips from both Willow and Alder Flycatchers in addition to the targeted Olive-sided Flycatcher.

6/13/23 – Eleven people conducted the 12th annual breeding bird census at Jerry Smith Park for KC WildLands. Although the 33 species tallied was a relatively low count, birders got great looks at Cedar Waxwings, Indigo Buntings, Blue Grosbeaks, Summer Tanagers, Yellow-breasted Chats, Dickcissels, and a Brown Thrasher. 

6/10/23 – Fourteen birders, including two families with boy scouts working on their birding merit badge, surveyed a small but rich piece of the Blue River corridor for breeding birds. As year-round and summer residents present at this time of the year are assumed to be in the midst of their breeding cycle, we counted all birds seen and heard as breeding birds. 

6/3/23 – Three birders gathered at Kill Creek Park for a short bird walk before heading to the nearby residence of Bill Warnes who has a Purple Martin colony with 36 nest gourds. We helped Bill count eggs and hatchlings. Like other songbirds, Purple Martins begin to incubate only after all eggs (typically, 7) are laid. This results in synchronous hatching, making parental care easier since incubation and feeding don’t have to occur simultaneously. 

5/20/23 – Fourteen individuals walked along the trails near Schlagle Library after a presentation on Prothonotary Warbler nest boxes. 

5/10/23 – Sixteen individuals met at Antioch Park and walked the paved trails enjoying a nice variety of northbound migrants. Cooperative Magnolia and Blackburnian Warblers in addition to Vireo diversity highlighted the walk among both old and new friends.

5/8/23 – Ten individuals slowly walked Tomahawk Creek Streamway between Antioch and Switzer, finding many northbound migrants. The birds were not very cooperative however as most only showed well for a couple of people in the group among the large leafs.

5/5/23 – We had 10 birders walk the paths from 7 to 10 AM at Blue River Parkway. The group observed fifty-eight species including a Prairie Warbler. We also had good looks at eight Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.

5/3/23 – Sixteen individuals gathered at Evergy Wetlands in Gardner Kansas and enjoyed a nice diversity of shorebirds at this location as well as New Century Fieldhouse.

5/3/23 – Eleven birders surveyed Jerry Smith Park. Surprise of the morning was a Wood Thrush clearly heard by everyone. A new bird for the park! Other highlights were good looks at a Yellow-breasted Chat and a couple of Lark Sparrows, watching a female Bluebird leave a cavity nest hole and a male fly in with food in its bill and seeing a Gnatcatcher sitting on a nest.

4/29/23 – Eleven birders enjoyed a beautiful spring morning at the confluence of Kansas City’s great rivers. Walking slowly along the paved trails produced several Warbling Vireos, a few Brown Thrashers, Lincoln’s, White-throated and Harris’s Sparrows, and Baltimore Orioles. A number of Northern Rough-winged Swallows patrolled the river’s edge. A treat for those who were quick enough to catch the action was a Peregrine Falcon chasing a Bald Eagle along the Kansas River towards the Missouri.

4/4/23 – Nine birders enjoyed a beautiful, rain-free morning at the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. Besides a carpet of ephemeral wildflowers on the south side of Wolf Creek, highlights included nice looks at Pileated Woodpecker, Red-shouldered Hawk and active pairs of Belted Kingfisher, Eastern Phoebe, and Louisiana Waterthrush.

3/9/23 – Four people observed several woodcocks performing their courtship flights on a chilly, wet evening. Flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Grackles and European Starlings were also seen.

3/8/23 – Nine intrepid women showed up despite the chilly, wet weather. They were rewarded with quite a show from several low-flying american woodcocks. Action was non-stop, until a couple of vocal Great-horned Owls moved into the nearby tree line. Earlier in the evening, there was a Barred Owl fly-by.

3/4/23 – Nineteen individuals met up to explore areas around Clinton and Perry Lakes. Waterfowl and gull diversity was limited, but we enjoyed a calm day finding many first of year northbound migrants like this Wilson’s Snipe and a lingering winter visitors like this Winter Wren

1/22/23 – Ten individuals enjoyed checking multiple areas around Wyandotte County Lake for winter visitors. Lake activity was relatively low, but a few swans were present and all expected woodpeckers were found.

1/21/23 – Four birders joined trip leader, Don Arney, on this annual winter census. Bird activity was generally lighter than expected, but human activity was greater than usual on this lovely winter morning, including a large (25+) group of trail runners, as well as a few mountain bikers. Small mixed-flocks of foraging chickadees, titmice, downy woodpeckers, and golden-crowned kinglets were encountered sparingly and high in the trees, but were able to be viewed without disturbance. Highlights ranged from a cooperative small flock of white-throated sparrows to an adult bald eagle.

1/17/23 – Ten people conducted the census on a pleasant winter morning. 22 species were tallied with highlights being two Pileated Woodpeckers, a Red-breasted Nuthatch, a Sharp-shinned Hawk and really nice looks at a vocalizing Hermit Thrush. This was the 12th census done at the request of Kansas City Wildlands.

12/3/22 – Six individuals explored Lyon, Coffey, and Osage counties in east-central Kansas. A cooperative Long-tailed Duck at Lyon State Fishing Lake as well as a first winter Short-billed Gull and Black-legged Kittiwake at Redmond Outlet Park were the rarities found on this trip, but relatively –

11/26/22 – Twenty-one birders explored the pools and moist soil grassy areas around the Loess Bluffs NWR automobile tour route on Saturday. Standing water was unfrozen because of the week’s warmer overnight temps. In addition to waterfowl, highlights included great looks at several raptors including Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Rough-legged Hawk, Short-eared Owl, and a very cooperative Taiga race Merlin. 

Trip Reports and Year Totals – 2022, 2021, 202020192018, 2017, and 2019 Trip to Sax-Zim Bog and MN Northwoods


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.