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TABERVILLE PRAIRIE CONSERVATION AREA
Edge Wade, spring 2015
1,680 acres  St. Clair Co.  DeLorme 43, 6-E
GPS:  38.039734,-93.976364
MDC owned, for information call 417-876-5226 or see:
http://mdc4.mdc.mo.gov/applications/moatlas/AreaList.aspx?txtUserID=guest&txtAreaNm=s
Directions:  From the south:  From the intersection of US 54 and MO 82 in Eldorado Springs, go north on MO 82 for about 3 miles, then left (north) on Rt. H for about 11 miles to a parking lot on the east side.
From the north:  From the intersection of US 52 and Rt. A east of Appleton City, go south on Rt. A for 2 miles, then stay straight to continue south on Rt. H for 8 miles and go right to the lot on NW 200 or continue on Rt. H to the lot just north of NW 100.
Two additional lots on NW 1001 provide access to the east side of the prairie. These are reached by going east from Rt. H to go south on Rt. B, or north from Rt. BB.
Taberville Prairie has been designated an Important Bird Area.  The 1,360-acre Taberville Prairie Natural Area (all north of NW 100) is registered as a National Natural Landmark.
When to Visit/Species to Expect:  Greater Prairie-Chickens once flourished here.  Taberville Prairie was one of the last areas in Missouri birders could go in booming season with reasonable expectations of witnessing dancing on a lek.  A birder who sees a Greater Prairie-Chicken here as of 2015 is very, very fortunate.  Until habitat restoration efforts re-establish conditions favorable to the species and the statewide population increases, this prairie will rarely, if ever again, carry the haunting booming sounds on the wind.
 
Come to Taberville prairie for sparrows!  Henslow’s are here spring migration into summer, and increase in September/October.  LeConte’s are here in spring migration and there is an overwintering population.  Grasshopper Sparrows may be found from March through October.  Spring and fall migration bring Chipping, Savannah, Vesper, Clay-colored, Lark, Fox, Song, Lincoln’s, Swamp, White-throated, White-crowned and Harris’s.  Wintering species include American Tree Sparrow and Dark-eyed Junco.
 
Short-eared Owls may be present, especially from November into March.  Watch for their distinctive floppy-wing flight at dawn and dusk.
 
Northern Harriers are present in all but the summer months.  Rough-legged Hawk is likely January into March; Cooper’s, Sharp-shinned, and Broad-winged Hawks have been reported here, as has Golden Eagle.
 
The prairie even has “shorebirds”.  Keep eyes and ears open for Upland Sandpipers and American Golden-Plover, especially in April.
 
Falcons are well represented.  American Kestrels may be expected any time of year; Merlins have been seen in early spring and October; Prairie Falcons have occurred in winter.
 
Sedge Wrens have been seen in May and in October; Pine Siskins in October.  American Pipits are found here in March/April and in October/November; Sprague’s Pipits have been reported in October/November.  Lapland Longspurs occur February through April and in November; Smith’s may be seen in March.
 
Summer birds include good numbers of Eastern Towhee and Dickcissel, Blue Grosbeak and Indigo Bunting.  Scissor-tailed Flycatchers and Loggerhead Shrikes join Eastern Phoebes and Eastern Kingbirds feasting on the abundant insect population.  Expect to find Bell’s Vireos, a species of concern experiencing sharp decline, nesting in islands of shrubs amid the prairie grasses.
 
 
Features of interest to birders:  Management priorities include nesting and brood-rearing habitat for Greater Prairie-Chicken, Northern Bobwhite, Upland Sandpiper and Henslow’s Sparrow.  Current efforts to maintain and restore healthy natural prairie ecosystems include prescribed burning in a closely monitored regimen of patch-burn grazing to reduce invasive plant species, including trees, as well as haying and spot treatment of exotic invasives (especially sericea lespedeza).
 
There are 1,455 acres of native tallgrass prairie, 123 acres of planted warm season grasses, a 5-acre glade, and 97 acres of cropland.  There are 6 very small waterholes and one intermittent stream (the headwaters of Baker Branch.
 
A two-track path leads into the natural area from the parking lot just north of NW 100 on the west side.  A service road goes east into the area a little less than a half mile south of the lot near NW 100 along NW 1001.  Several of the waterholes and some brushy creek headwaters are near this road.
 
Toilets:  None
 
Camping:  None
 
Hazards/Limitations:  Cattle may be present.  There is no shade.  Bring plenty of water on summer visits.  Take precautions for ticks and chiggers.
 
Nearby Birding Sites:  Taberville Access, Wah’Kon-Tah Prairie CA, Schell-Osage CA, Linscomb WA, Lichen Glade CA, Birdsong CA.