Here’s a free all-day birding camp for the entire family. Play “Guess Who” to identify our feathered friends. Pack a picnic or visit the restaurant on site. It’s a great time to see birds because of the still leafless trees and migrating birds.

Photo courtesy of Missouri State Parks

By Sandy Selby

A little bird told us that there’s going to be a fun event the entire family will enjoy at Roaring River State Park on Saturday, March 23. That’s when the park hosts its Birding Boot Camp. It’s a free education program that lasts from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and you can choose to attend all or some of the activities planned. 

Springtime is a primetime for bird watching as many migrating songbirds are passing through or returning home to Missouri. And since the trees aren’t fully leafed out yet, there’s a better chance that you’ll catch a glimpse of a colorful or unusual bird that you might not see when the foliage thickens up. Roaring River State Park boasts of 208 different bird species that have been spotted in the park.

The Birding Boot Camp begins at 8 the Ozark Chinquapin Nature Center with a birdwatching hike. The hike will be no more than 1.5 miles, and snacks and coffee will be provided. Your guide will teach you where to look and how to listen for the best chance of locating a species you may not have noticed before.

Photo courtesy of Missouri State Parks

There will be time to enjoy lunch in the park, either at the on-site restaurant or at a picnic you bring yourself. Or if you prefer, you can dine at a restaurant near the park. Then at 1 p.m., participants will meet at the nature center to learn about the basics of bird identification and test their skills in a fun game of bird “Guess Who?” Finally, the day will conclude at 3 p.m. at the nature center with a program about birdsong.

The event will take place rain or shine, so dress for the weather and wear a sturdy pair of boots or shoes. Guests are encouraged to bring water, snacks, binoculars, and a camera. Registration is encouraged, but walk-ins are also welcome. To register, call 417-847-9742.

Roaring River State Park is located at 12716 Farm Road 2239 in Cassville. The nature center is located off Highway F, at the entrance to Campground 3. Learn more about Roaring River State Park at

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