by John Besser, Nature Areas Committee

Boone County, Missouri, birders have maintained the tradition of a spring migration count, although no state or national migration count currently exists. This countywide effort, which takes place on the traditional Big Day (second-Saturday in May), is an opportunity for many birders in the area to team up to find and count birds in their designated part of the county. There are currently 15 designated count areas in Boone County, and many of these areas have sizable teams of counters. It all amounts to substantial effort and a thorough snapshot of the birds in Boone County during the peak of Spring migration.

As we are in the era of eBird, checklists from all these groups birding are shared, and the overall number of species and numbers of individuals of each species are easily determined using the eBird ‘Trip List’ feature. Barring any late submissions, it looks like our 2023 species total is 162, compiled from a total of 81 checklists.  The is the lowest total for the last five years, with totals for the previous 4 years ranging  from 169 to 183.

Remarkably, 16 of the 81 checklists had unique species not reported elsewhere on the count. Some of these special sightings included Upland Sandpiper, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Chuck-Wills-Widow, Mourning and Canada warblers, and Henslow’s Sparrow. Eagle Bluffs had nine unique species of shorebirds, plus Peregrine Falcon, Black Tern, and American bittern.

To explore the entire species list, the total counts for each species, and the locations they were found, follow this link to open the eBird trip report: