The 121st Christmas Bird Count in Missouri

This season, Missouri hosted 25 Christmas Bird Counts. With the addition of a new count at Mark Twain Lake, Missouri now has 30 active count circles. Due to COVID-19 health concerns, the five counts with the highest participation were cancelled by their compilers. Despite this, a total of 417 recorded 138 species and a total of 493,720 individual birds. A quick, but heavy, snowfall in early January in the southwest only affected the Dallas County count. Overall, weather was mild with an average high of 43˚F.

Several notable species were seen throughout the state. The Confluence count saw many notable species including a state record setting 55 Tundra Swan. Mingo N.W.R. recorded a new high count of 5600 Northern Shoveler. Virginia Rail, typically only seen in the wastewater treatment facility within the Columbia circle, was also recorded for the first time in Taney County. This bird notably was present before and after the bitter cold weather the area received in February 2021, when temperatures held around zero degrees for several days. Taney County also set the state high count with 26 Common Loons. Great Egret was seen on two counts. Two birds in Clarence Cannon N.W.R. represent a first for that count, while three birds at Mingo N.W.R. were a second record for that count. Black Vultures have continued to invade the state, with 12 counts recording the species. Clarence Cannon N.W.R. recorded Long-billed Dowitcher and Least Sandpiper. Confluence had two Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a single Indigo Bunting. A female-type Selasphorus hummingbird (likely Rufous) visited a private feeder in Springfield.  Fish Crows lingered in the state long enough to be seen and heard on both Big Oak Tree S.P. and Mingo NWR. A Common Redpoll was seen visiting a feeder in Jefferson City. Eurasian Tree Sparrow are common around the St. Louis area and north along the Mississippi River, but 11 birds in Kirkville is notable that far west.

Three counts saw their highest species numbers yet: Big Oak Tree SP (97 sp.), Kirksville (61 sp.) and Clarence Cannon NWR (105 sp.). The latter was the highest species count for the state. 


Stay abreast of Audubon

Our email newsletter shares the latest programs and initiatives.