Whether you’re a “wake up to the sound of birds” type, or a “please be quiet I’m trying to sleep” type, we’re at that part of the year where there’s a soundtrack to our Kansas City mornings.
Here’s the pitch: imagine getting out of bed in the morning, sitting out on the patio, or going for a hike. Instead of just a bunch of random noise, you hear the songs of a kingbird or chickadee. You could even learn their colors, habits, and favorite foods. The upshot: You should really get into birdwatching.
You could wing it, or…
A little bit of preparation goes a long way. However, you don’t need to drop your tax return on binos (although it couldn’t hurt to look).
What might help:
- A field guide. Instead of trying to name them all on your own, pull up a local guide like this comprehensive list from KC Birding Walks, a physical guide like “A Guide To Bird Finding In Kansas and Western Missouri,” or an app like Merlin. If you bring your favorite local newsletter, too, we wouldn’t hate it.
- Bird food. A backyard or window feeder brings the birds to you. Try Backyard Bird Center in the Northland (which also has a good bird guide), or Wild Birds Unlimited in Shawnee (complete with a bird hobby guide).
- Your new best birdie. Local experts + hobbyists will love to show you the ropes. Link up with The Greater Kansas City Chapter of the National Audubon Society or look into this birdwatching Facebook group so you don’t fly solo.
Meet the stars of the show
- American goldfinch |📍 Open areas, scattered trees | 🗓️ Year-round (but changes color in winter) | Song
- American robin |📍 Woods, residential areas | 🗓️ Year-round | Song
- Bald eagle |📍 Lakes, rivers, wetlands | 🗓️ Mostly fall-spring | Song
- Barred owl |📍 Woods | 🗓️ Year-round | Song
- Black-capped chickadee |📍 Woods, feeders, residential areas | 🗓️ Year-round | Song
- Common nighthawk |📍 Fields, towns (mid-flight at dawn + dusk) | 🗓️ Spring-fall | Song
- Eastern kingbird |📍 Open fields + woodland edges | 🗓️ Spring-fall | Song
- Great blue heron | 📍Lakes, ponds, streams | 🗓️ Year-round | Song
- Mourning dove |📍 Open + urban areas | 🗓️ Year-round | Song
- Northern shoveler |📍 Lakes, ponds, wetlands | 🗓️ Spring, fall, sometimes winter | Song
- Red-headed woodpecker |📍 Woods | 🗓️ Summer, sometimes winter | Song
- Red-winged blackbird |📍 Wetlands, near streams, some pastures | 🗓️ Year-round | Song
- Summer tanager |📍 Woods | 🗓️ Spring-fall | Song