Birds of the Greenways

Over the course of 2021, Great Rivers Greenway and the St. Louis Audubon Society had the pleasure of hosting more than 100 people on Beginner Birdwatching tours. Over the course of these walks, participants saw a wide variety of birds along the greenways. Here are a few highlights:

Smallest Seen

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
4 inch  average wingspan

Largest Seen

Bald Eagle
80 inch average wingspan

Did you know?
Habitats along greenways provide essential food and shelter for migrating birds passing through and birds who live in the St. Louis region year-round.

Some Fun Facts from our Birdwatching Walks:

  • We saw a Bald Eagle on 4 of the 8 greenway birdwatching walks. Because bald eagles steal fish from other birds, mammals and even people, Ben Franklin thought this was a bad choice for the US national bird.
  • Blue Jays were seen on 5 of the 8 greenway birdwatching walks. These birds can carry up to 5 acorns at a time in their expandable throats and store hundreds to eat during the winter months.
  • Brown-headed Cowbirds were seen on 4 of the 8 greenway birdwatching walks. These birds do not make nests. Instead, they lay their eggs in other birds’ nests.
  • American Goldfinches were seen on 6 of the 8 greenway birdwatching walks. These birds are strict vegetarians, eating mostly seeds. They wait until late summer to raise their young when many native flowers have produced seeds.
  • Carolina Wrens were seen (and heard) on 4 of the 8 greenway birdwatching walks. A single male Carolina Wren can sing nearly 3,000 times in a single day.
  • Great Blue Herons were seen on 4 of the 8 greenway birdwatching walks. These birds live in a community called a rookery together with species of egrets, cormorants, and other herons.
  • Mourning Doves were seen on 6 of the 8 greenway birdwatching walks. One pair of Mourning Doves may raise a group of babies called a brood 5 or 6 times in a single year.
  • Northern Cardinal was the species we saw most often on 7 of the 8 greenway birdwatching walks. Only males sing among most North American bird species, but female cardinals break this rule.
  • Northern Kingfishers like the one we saw on the Meramec Greenway create a burrow up to 6 feet deep into a riverbank that slopes to shed water.
  • Red-bellied Woodpeckers were seen on 5 of the 8 greenway birdwatching walks. Seeds make up half their diet, and the other half is insects that they catch using their tongues that reach out two inches.

Bird Species Number of Tours Where the Species Was Spotted
American Crow 5
American Goldfinch 6
American Kestrel 1
American Robin 6
Bald Eagle 4
Baltimore Oriole 1
Barn Swallow 4
Bay-breasted Warbler 1
Belted Kingfisher 2
Black-and-white Warbler 1
Blue Jay 5
Blue-gray Gnatchatcher 1
Broad-winged Hawk 2
Brown Creeper 1
Brown Thrasher 1
Brown-headed Cowbird 4
Canada Goose 2
Carolina Chickadee 1
Carolina Wren 4
Cedar Waxwing 2
Chimney Swift 2
Cliff Swallow 3
Common Grackle 5
Common Yellowthroat 1
Cooper’s Hawk 2
Dickcissel 1
Double-crested Cormorant 1
Downy Woodpecker 6
Eastern Bluebird 2
Eastern Kingbird 2
Eastern Phoebe 2
Eastern Towhee 3
Eastern Wood-Pewee 5
Eurasian Tree Sparrow 1
European Starling 4
Field Sparrow 1
Fish Crow 2
Golden-crowned Kinglet 1
Gray Catbird 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 1
Great Blue Heron 4
Great Egret 2
Great Horned Owl 1
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Hermit Thrush 1
House Finch 3
House Sparrow 1
Indigo Bunting 3
Killdeer 1
Mallard 2
Mourning Dove 6
Nashville Warbler 1
Northern Cardinal 7
Northern Flicker 3
Northern Mockingbird 3
Northern Parula 1
Orchard Oriole 2
Palm Warbler 1
Pied-billed Grebe 2
Pileated Woodpecker 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 5
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1
Red-eyed Vireo 2
Red-headed Woodpecker 1
Red-shouldered Hawk 2
Red-tailed Hawk 3
Red-winged Blackbird 4
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 3
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 2
Rusty Blackbird 1
Song Sparrow 4
Spotted Sandpiper 1
Swainson’s Thrush 1
Swamp Sparrow 2
Tennessee Warbler 1
Tree Swallow 1
Tufted Titmouse 3
Turkey Vulture 4
Warbling Vireo 2
White-breasted Nuthatch 5
White-eyed Vireo 2
White-throated Sparrow 3
Wood Duck 2
Yellow-billed Cuckoo 1
Yellow-breasted Chat 2
Yellow-rumped Warbler 3
Yellow-throated Vireo 1
Yellow Warbler 1