August 1, 2014

About the Trail

The Great Missouri Birding Trail is designed to introduce new and seasoned birders across the state, nation, and the world to the diverse habitats that over 320 species of birds visit annually in Missouri to create a diverse and colorful array of species. The Great Missouri Birding Trail is a partnership between the Missouri Bird Conservation Foundation, Missouri Department of Conservation, and Wallis Companies. In addition to these sponsors, private citizens, avid birders, landholders, and conservation groups were all indispensable to the Trail’s development.

From the western prairies to the gentle rolling hills of Missouri’s northern farmlands, south to the wild and beautiful Ozark hills and bottomland delta of the Missouri bootheel, Missouri is home to a diverse array of habitats, and thus, diverse birds. Missouri is also connected by hundreds of small spring-fed streams and rivers that flow into the great Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. These large rivers make up much of the Central Flyway, or the pathway that millions of birds use every year as their migratory compass. Through encounters with birds in their natural habitat, we want birders to develop an ethic of conservation that influences their view of the natural world and provides them with knowledge they can draw upon when managing their own property, be it acres of farmland to a small backyard.


Missouri is the nation’s crossroads for both birds and birders. The Great Missouri Birding Trail  is divided into six regions, including St. Louis, Central, Kansas City, Southwest, Southeast, and Northeast. Wherever you are in Missouri, all you have to do is turn on your phone, tablet, or home computer and you are on your way to some of the best birding in the central United States. The site is easy to navigate. Just click on one the six Birding Trails and find birding locations near you. Each site includes a site description with links to the area’s eBird list, driving directions, the area’s website, what birds you may see, and information on things to do and places to bird in the surrounding area. The Great Missouri Birding Trail will direct you to hundreds of the best birding locations across the state and, with few exceptions, admission to these areas is free. Most stops on the Trail are on public land, where you can experience bird conservation through habitat management for wildlife, including both migratory and resident birds.

So strap on your binoculars, grab your field guide or smart phone, and head out for an exciting day of birding. Frequent visits to the website will keep you informed on updates. Resources for the new and experienced birder are also available in Birding Resources, including tips and tricks to get started birding and improve birding skills. We hope that you will enjoy a morning, a day, or a lifetime of birding on the Great Missouri Birding Trail and discover the beauty and natural diversity of Missouri and the millions of birds that call it home. Finally, we would like to thank the organizations, businesses, and services that support the Trail.