August 1, 2014

St. Louis Birding Trail

The St. Louis Trail is divided into two portions: a St. Louis Metro Trail and a Greater St. Louis Trail. The Metro Trail highlights birding opportunities no more than 10 minutes from St. Louis' urban center. The Greater St. Louis Trail features birding sites that are still in the St. Louis area but farther off the beaten path. Read more about these two Trails below. Birds can be found and enjoyed anywhere, both inside and outside the city!

Use the Google Map below to locate a birding site near you, or use the Index.

For help on how to use the Interactive Map, click here.

Index of St. Louis Sites

Greater St. Louis Trail

The Greater St. Louis Trail are outside of St. Louis proper and extend south and west to the rolling hills of the Ozarks. The Ozarks are dotted with upland deciduous forests of oak and hickory, old fields, and prairies, hilltop glades, and countless spring-fed creeks and rivers that meander through the Ozarks on their way to the great rivers. The Greater Trail also extends north of St. Louis along Old Hwy 79, running parallel to the Mississippi River all the way to Clarence Cannon National Wildlife Refuge. Many of these areas provide important wetland habitat for migratory waterbirds.

St. Louis Metro Trail

The goal of the St. Louis Metro Trail is to showcase urban conservation and to encourage people living in urban areas to consider birding within the city. The notion that you have to make a long trip to the outskirts of the city to see birds is not true, and we hope the Metro Trail will encourage urban birding. The Metro Trail was designed to be easily accessible by residents of St. Louis County. All of these sites are within 10-20 minutes of downtown St. Louis, and many are close enough to be accessed by Metro Transit. St. Louis County has many public parks and conservation areas that reflect an urban conservation ethic, but just as many offer only marginal bird habitat. St. Louis County is the most reliable location for finding the Eurasian tree sparrow, making St. Louis a destination city for birders across the country and around the world.

About the St. Louis Trail Region

St. Louis is located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, which creates one of America’s most active flyways for birds migrating north and south each year. The large islands, sloughs, sandbars, wetlands, open fields, and bottomland forests along these great rivers create some of the most productive bird habitat in the Midwest. The Mississippi River Flyway is protected and is part of the Upper Mississippi Conservation Area managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge complex. Most of the areas on the St. Louis Birding Trail are managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation or Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Final Thoughts

The St. Louis area’s combination of diverse habitats provides some incredible birding. Many, if not all, of the 412 bird species of Missouri can be found somewhere along the St. Louis Birding Trail. The wetlands adjacent to the Mississippi river provide habitat for numerous species of waterfowl using that flyway, including Tundra Swan, Trumpeter Swan, Ross's Goose, Cackling Canada Goose, American Black Duck, Ruddy Duck, just to name a few. Little Blue Heron, Cattle Egret, and Black-crowned Night-heron can be seen wading in the shallows of these marshes. The big rivers attract nesting pairs of Bald Eagles, Osprey, and other raptors. The parks and woodland in and around St. Louis county attract a great diversity of wood warbers, including Kentucky, Black-and-white, Nashville, Prothonotary, Tennessee, Northern Parula, Yellow Warbler, and many more. Documentation of bird sightings and related information can be found on eBird.