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KEARN (J.N. “Turkey”) MEMORIAL WILDLIFE AREA

Edge Wade, 2016

1,674 acres  Johnson and Pettis Co.  DeLorme 35, F-10

GPS:  38.637311,-93.521302

Owned by MDC; for more information call 660-530-5500

Directions:  Unit #1 is entered on its west side from Johnson Co. SE 1201.  To reach Unit #1 from Knob Noster, go south on MO 23 for 7 miles, then east on SE 600 for 2 miles, and south on SE 1201 to the entrance.    Entry to Unit #1 from the south (from Windsor and/or Unit #2) via SE 1201 requires jogging west on SE 775 north on SE 1101, then right (east) on SE 725.

Unit #1 can be entered from the south on SE 1301 Rd. (the Johnson/Pettis county line).  This road runs north from the intersection with Eldorado Rd. (Pettis Co.) and SE 725 (Johnson Co.).

To enter Unit #2 from the south (Windsor), go north on Rt. WW, then right (east, but road quickly turns north) onto SE1201.  The entrance is on the right opposite SE 775

Unit #3 is on Rt. B, two miles east of the intersection with Rt. AA, reached from Units #1 and #2 by turning right (south) onto Rt. AA from Kearn Rd, Eleorado Rd. or Wells Rd.  From Green Ridge, take Rt. B west to Unit #3.

 

ADA Information:  The fishing dock and privy at North Lake are accessible.  Beyond the immediate lake areas, birding by car is advised for those with difficulty walking over uncertain surfaces.

When to Visit/Species to Expect: Although Greater Prairie-Chickens were present in this part of Johnson and Pettis counties into the 21st century, none have been reported in recent years.

Although there are wooded hills, birders’ time here would be most productive near the lakes and in the grassland and brushy areas.  Management focuses on upland species (deer, turkey, rabbits, squirrels, doves, and songbirds).

The greatest habitat diversity and accessibility are in Unit #2, with two lakes and internal roads.  Unit #1 is accessible by road (SE 650) east/west and through the southern portion (SE 1301).

There is a good spread, species-wise, but sparse reporting currently leaves many gaps in the occurrence records.

The duck species list here is short, more likely due to the limited number of birding visits, rather than lack of birds in season.   Northern Bobwhite and Wild Turkey are present.  Flycatchers reported are probably not representative of the area’s potential, but Scissor-tailed has been reported and should be expected.

Watch for Loggerhead Shrikes and Bell’s Vireos in the grass area studded with brush/bushes between the two lakes.  Red-headed Woodpeckers use the standing dead trees in the lakes, as do Tree Swallows.  Purple Martin, Bank and Barn Swallows have occurred. 

Sparrow species are well represented.  In addition to the internal area, in winter and early spring, the brushy fence line on CR NE 1201 along the west side of Unit #2 can be very good for birding by car (little traffic, but keep an eye on the rear view mirror). Fox. Field, and White-crowned Sparrows, Dark-eyed Junco, and Eastern Towhee are among species present in the appropriate season.

Features of interest to birders:  Acreage figures include all three units.  Nearly 900 acres are old field and non-prairie grassland, and 325 are cropland.  Forest and woodland acreage is 423. 

There are no designated trails; but several mowed tracks lead into the grass areas, several of them accessible from perimeter parking areas.  In Unit #2, a boat ramp, fishing docks and fishing a jetty provide good viewing at 25-acre North Lake.  The dams at North and South Lake (9 acres) can be walked. In Unit #1, Shop Lake (1.5 acres) can be viewed on the south side of the road bisecting the unit.  

 

Toilets:  1 privy at North Lake

Camping:  None    

Hazards/Limitations:  Ticks and chiggers should be expected and precautions taken in warm weather.  This is an active hunting area; be aware of hunting seasons and hunter presence.

Nearby Birding Sites:  Knob Noster SP, Pertle Spring (Warrensburg), Perry Memorial CA, Farrington Park (Windsor), Paint Brush Prairie CA, Spring Fork Lake.