Missouri Birds and Missouri Birding Tips


Missouri Birds | Missouri Birding Tips For The Beginner | Missouri Bird Links
Bird Watching in Missouri near St. Louis in the Arcadia Valley Region
and Black River Recreation Area 

If you are a beginner bird watcher, here are a few tips that will help you on your birding getaway to our region.  While some of these suggestions may be obvious, we hope that you'll also be able to use these Missouri birding tips as a checklist before traveling to our region.


1.   First you will need a bird field guide.  A field guide is a book with pictures of the birds and tips for identifying them.   We recommend Birds of Missouri Field Guide by Stan Tekiela. It contains 115 species - and only Missouri birds (out of over 400 known in Missouri).  There are several excellent field guides of United States Birds.  Most field guides available for US birds represent the eastern half of the United States, or, the western half of the United States.  Because Missouri is in the middle, and both eastern and western US birds often migrate to Missouri, the Tekiela Field Guide is a great place to start for the beginning birder.

When you become familiar with the birds in Missouri, you will want the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, or the Audubon Society Field Guides to North American Birds, Eastern and Western editions.  For young birders, we recommend Peterson First Guide: Birds. It describes 188 common and conspicuous birds and it won't overwhelm them with too many choices.

2.  Don't forget to bring your binoculars!  You need binoculars to see the birds. Unfortunately, all binoculars are not created equally and the prices range from a few dollars up to a thousand dollars.  Unfortunately you get what you pay for . . .If you discover that you really want to get serious about your bird watching hobby, you'll want to invest in the best that you can afford.  The best birders have the best binoculars — even though they can identify a bird 100 yards away by its silhouette or even just by its song.

3.  Before traveling to our area, spend some time studying your field guide.  Learn about bird basics - what the different parts of a bird are called.  For example, the word "crest" is used to indicate the set of extra long feathers on top of a Northern Cardinal's head.  Become familiar with what the "wing bar" is for example.  Determine how your field guide is organized so that when "in the field" you can locate the bird in the field guide quickly for identification.

 4. Decide which types of birds you want to see.  Our Black River and our lakes and streams provide a totally different habitat than say, the heavily forested Taum Sauk Mountain State Park or sections of the Mark Twain National Forest.  Different birds inhabit different areas.

5.  Be certain to wear comfortable shoes and wear neutral colored clothing. NEVER WEAR WHITE CLOTHING WHEN YOU'RE BIRD WATCHING.

For comprehensive information on Missouri birds on the web, please see the Audubon Society of Missouri at this link.  The Missouri Department of Conservation also has an excellent section on Missouri Birds.

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