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New ‘Great Missouri Birding Trail’ web site debuts, but under construction

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A house finch is one of the most familiar birds around the feeder, and stays year-round in the Ozarks. It is similar to the purple finch, which has arrived more recently.

A House Finch perched on a rose bush is one of the most familiar birds around the feeder, and stays year-round in the Ozarks. It is similar to the purple finch, which has arrived more recently. Other finches include the beautiful yellow American Goldfinch, seen on the front of this report.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation has hatched a new web site for bird watchers, but most of us will have to wait several more years outside the Kansas City and St. Louis areas. That’s because much of the site will remain “under construction,” a puzzling way to unveil an importance resource for birders.

The Great Missouri Birding Trail project was started by Mike Doyen of Rolla, president of the Missouri Bird Conservation Foundation. The “Trail “is now a partnership between the Foundation and MDC, with support from other state and federal agencies and birding organizations.

The Ruby-crowned Kinglet is one of our tiniest birds in the Ozarks. Barely larger than a hummingbird, its behavior is more like a wren, full of energy and motion.

The Ruby-crowned Kinglet is one of our tiniest birds in the Ozarks. Barely larger than a hummingbird, its behavior is more like a wren, full of energy and motion.

MDC hopes to encourage beginner and seasoned birders to discover nature by exploring the “best of the best” places to birdwatch around Missouri. Finding them is as easy as going online to the new website, Great Missouri Birding Trail, at www.greatmissouribirdingtrail.com.

The website already includes maps of the best birding sites around the Show-Me State, along with information on various aspects of bird conservation. Pages include birding tips, beginner basics, landscaping for birds, and how to get involved with local bird organizations.

The best-birding locations include mostly public land, such as conservation areas and state parks, and cover various types of bird habitats, such grasslands, woodlands, forests, glades, and savannas. Each type of natural community hosts a different suite of bird species to identify.

Mike Doyen

Mike Doyen

“Nothing is more critical to birds than habitat,” says Doyen. “If the habitat is right, the birds will be there. Visit some of the more than two hundred sites along the Trail and become familiar with the diversity of habitat that birds call home. Then ask yourself, what can I do in my backyard to improve habitat for birds?”

The St. Louis and Kansas City sections of the Great Missouri Birding Trail website are complete. Work continues on four remaining sections, including: northeast, central, southwest, and southeast, which will be completed in the next few years.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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