Bird Study

Saint Louis Zoo researchers are observing birds year-round to create a snapshot of what species utilize the Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Park habitats annually. Birds seen during spring and fall migrations could help indicate which areas of the WildCare Park are important stopover sites, as well as areas to prohibit frequent mowing activities. It's also important to log what species are currently residing in the habitats available to them throughout every season.

Preserving or restoring these bird habitats would not only continue to serve the migrating and resident birds, but could offer unique opportunities for guests, educational programs, or conservation programs when the WildCare Park is developed.

Buildings located on the property are surveyed to identify glass-strike hotspots for birds. Striped vinyl is applied to the glass to help prevent future bird strikes in these areas. This data will help the WildCare Park create safer spaces for native birds.

In addition, researchers are documenting how many different free-roaming cats are on the property. Domestic cats kill billions of birds every year in the U.S.

Important First Step

Identifying what species are present on the property is an important first step in making informed decisions about future property uses, including collection planning and management, native wildlife corridor management, habitat management and restoration, and educational program development in terms of property design and use.


Through observations, survey teams have identified over 100 species of birds in 2020, with almost 50% of them being migrant species.

  • Summer tanager
  • Baltimore oriole
  • Indigo bunting
  • Sparrow (8 species)
  • Warbler (10 species)
  • Raptor
  • Egret
  • Woodpecker
  • Eastern meadowlark
  • Dickcissel
  • Turkey

Scientific Methods

Observers walk transects, or sample areas, throughout the property's varying landscapes to identify species by straight observation (eyes or binoculars) and/or by auditory (sound) observations. Photos are taken when possible for documentation. Trained employees and volunteers surveyed several times weekly during the spring and fall migration periods in 2020.

The health, safety, and psychological well-being of the animals in this study are priorities for Zoo researchers. Only non-invasive monitoring methods were used during this survey to determine species identification and population estimates.


With its diverse habitats and its location along the Mississippi Flyway, Missouri’s bird list includes 435 species. Approximately 330 of the listed bird species are regularly observed and documented somewhere in the state, with the remaining 80 birds being accidental or casual visitors.

Zoo Conservation Programs

How You Can Help