by Bill Graham, Missouri Department of Conservation
Many creatures keep on the move during winter, especially birds seeking food and shelter in forests, fields, and backyards. The Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Burr Oak Woods Nature Center will offer several free programs and workshops during December that help families connect with birds and learn more about them.
A backyard birds’ workshop and hike will be offered from 10 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, at the center in Blue Springs. Participants will learn about birds that commonly visit backyard feeders. If weather allows, MDC staff will take participants on a guided hike to spot birds in the woods and meadows. This activity is open to all ages and registration is not required.
MDC offers several programs designed to help young children discover and enjoy nature. A Little Acorns program about birds that come to bird feeders will be offered from 10 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 11. This program is for children from ages 3 to 5 who are accompanied by an adult. The children will learn about Missouri birds and make a feeder to take home.
The Burr Oak Woods staff will lead a Families Xplore winter night hike from 6:30 to 8:30pm on Thursday, Dec. 12. Birds will be among the wildlife discussed on the hike along with how other parts of nature adapt to winter. This program is designed for families with children from ages 6 to 13. Burr Oak Woods will host a Super Suet program from 1:00 to 2:30pm on Saturday, December 14. This program is designed for adults 18 and older. Experts will talk about what type of suet birds prefer to feed on to give them energy in winter. Participants will make suet to take home for their backyard feeders.
Registration is required for these three events. To register online, visit mdc.mo.gov/events-s3.
A Bird in the Hand program will be offered from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 4. This program will give participants a chance to help band birds and learn about the science that tracks bird populations. Avian experts at the Missouri River Bird Observatory partners with the Burr Oak Woods Nature Center in an ongoing project to identify and track birds that come to the center’s feeders each winter. Birds such as chickadees, cardinals, juncos, and sparrows are captured as they come to the center’s feeders and given leg bands. Birders spotting the bands report sightings to an online database. This enables participants to track the movements of birds that they helped band. This program is for all ages and registration is not required.
For more information about all programs at Burr Oak Woods, call 816-228-3766 or visit mdc.mo.gov/burroakwoods.
Burr Oak Woods Nature Center will offer several programs during December about winter birds, including a bird-banding event. Winter is a great time to watch birds. Foliage no longer conceals them, and they often come to backyard bird feeders. The birds in the photo are a pair of northern cardinals fluffing their feathers in a snowstorm.
Photo credit: Missouri Department of Conservation