Field Trips

  Following CDC Guidelines, Face masks and distancing is expected for 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 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 winter 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.

  Following CDC Guidelines, Face masks and distancing is expected for field trips


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.

10/20/20 – Five individuals wore masked and maintained social distancing while visiting Kill Creek Park in northwest Johnson County Kansas. A slightly larger and darker bird was observed flying with Tree Swallows over the lake, giving the impression of a very late Martin.  Careful study revealed it was a Merlin flying slowly among the Swallows hunting, a behavior that is not often seen with this species.

10/14/20 – Eight people helped with the morning census at Jerry Smith Park. Winds made the count challenging, but 28 species were tallied. Highlights were: Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Orange-crowned Warblers, 6 species of sparrows including FOS White-crowned Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos, and a Sharp-shinned Hawk that flew across the area.

10/13/20 – Six individuals wore masks and spaced out at the top of the Kill Creek Tower to enjoy southbound migrants. Large numbers of Pine Siskins highlighted each groups stay.

5/13/20 – Steven Johnson and Sherry Leonardo practiced social distancing during the previously schedule field trip by conducted the Rocky Point Glades spring migration census alone. They had a few migrants among the 31 species but many summer residents.

5/12/20 – Sherry Leonardo conducted the spring migration census at Jerry Smith Park and amazingly found a Lazuli Bunting while enjoying views of other migrating Vireos, Wrens, and Warblers.  

3/10/20 – Twenty-two people attended the annual woodcock walk at Jerry Smith Park. We were joined by 6 people from the KC Meet Up birding at the park for woodcocks. At least 6 woodcocks put on quite a show. Most people saw at least one woodcock and everyone heard all three parts of the aerial display. Other birds seen or heard included Killdeer and Great Horned Owls.

2/29/20 – Twenty two individuals met at Clinton Lake to scan the lake in the morning before heading to Perry Lake after lunch. Most of the bird variety was present at the Marina in the morning with flyover geese. At Perry Lake a 1st winter Lesser Black-backed Gull was at the Yacht and Marina near the dam and a Great Black-backed Gull was at the Rock Creek Marina with an Iceland (Thayeri type) Gull. A Glaucous Gull back at the Yacht and Marina at the end of the trip was the 6th gull species and end to a wonderfully warm day with friends.

2/8/20 – Seven birders from KC and eleven birders from Topeka met to enjoy a sunny, but chilly, morning with calm winds at Shawnee State Fishing Lake north of Topeka. A frozen lake precluded any waterfowl from being seen, but nine species of sparrow, including Fox and Spotted Towhee, were found in the brush and grasslands around the lake. Banner Creek Lake near Holton produced a nice variety of waterfowl on a few seams of open water on an otherwise frozen lake. On the way back to KC, birders found several dabbling and diving ducks after a quick stop at the Perry Lake dam east of Topeka.

1/25/20 – Recent snow resulted in a beautiful 2.5 mile walk at the Overland Park Arboretum for nine individuals.  A Spotted Towhee and Purple Finch were at the feeder station and numerous Golden Crowned Kinglets were along the west trail.

1/19/20 – Cold temperatures caused the group of five birders to spend less time walking and scoping the lake than expected. Hermit Thursh, Golden-crowned Kinglets, and a variety of waterfowl were present around Wyandotte County Lake.

1/15/20 – Three volunteers joined Sherry Leonardo in this winter bird census of Jerry Smith Park. Highlights included a Sharp-shinned Hawk, a Pileated Woodpecker, a couple of Fox Sparrows, and a Swamp Sparrow. These seasonal censuses assist KC WildLands in its ongoing mission to preserve habitat around the Kansas City Metro area, and participating with Burroughs counts as volunteer hours for both KS and MO Master Naturalists.

1/8/20 – Thirteen volunteers joined Steve Johnson in this winter season bird census of the Rocky Point Glades in Swope Park. Highlights included an adult Bald Eagle, a young Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and hundreds of American Robins (with a few Cedar Waxwings mixed in) feasting on abundant Hackberry tree fruit.

1/1/20 – Five birders joined in a New Years Day walk on a beautiful first day of 2020. Highlights included a number of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and a nice variety of waterfowl. Wonderful photos by J.C. Avena included with eBird list.

12/7/19 – Twenty-two people, including birders from Hays and Topeka, birded multiple locations in Lyon and Osage Counties in Kansas. Our target bird near Lyon State Fishing Lake (LSFL), Smith’s Longspur, proved elusive and few (two birds), but most folks were able to hear and see a bird in flight. Another highlight of LSFL was a cooperative Bewick’s Wren. On earlier reports of a Pacific Loon and White-winged Scoter at Pamona Lake, the group relocated and had great looks at the loon, but not the scoter. A busy guild of songbirds was located in the park below the Pamona Lake outlet, delighting all who witnessed the large mixed flock.


2019 Trip Reports and Year Totals

2019 Extended Trip Report from Sax-Zim Bog and MN Northwoods

2018 Trip Reports and Year Totals

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.