PRAIRIE CONSERVATION AREA
Edge Wade, 2017
314 acres Pettis Co.
DeLorme 36, G-2
Owned by MDC; for more information call 660-530-5500
This area has been
designated by Audubon Missouri as an Important Bird Area (IBA).
Directions: From Sedalia, take US 63 south, then go east
on Manilla Rd. Rod and Gun Club Rd. runs
along the east side (coming from Rt. V/Spring Fork Rd. to the north). From it, take Whiteman Rd going west to
return to US 63 across from MO 52.
ADA Information: There are no ADA compliant
facilities/improvements, and no trails through the area.
Visit/Species to Expect: Greater
Prairie-Chickens, once expected in appropriate habitat in this vicinity, have
not been reported from this site for many years.
Barn Owls are in the vicinity. Both Western (more likely in winter) and Eastern Meadowlarks use the
On a late spring through summer visit birders have a good chance to encounter Upland Sandpiper, Northern Bobwhite, Eastern Kingbird, and Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. Bell’s Vireo nests (check shrubs/bushes, especially on prairie margins). Loggerhead Shrike, Dickcissel, and a good spread of sparrows, including Clay-colored, Lark, Henslow’s, and Grasshopper are likely in summer.
Sedge Wrens occur in late summer (the time of their second nesting). Autumn species found here include Bobolink, American Pipit, Vesper, LeConte’s, and Lincoln’s Sparrow.
Winter birding may produce a Northern Harrier by day, and perhaps
Short-eared Owl at dusk or dawn.
A very fortunate birder may find a Bewick’s Wren in summer, Yellow Rail in autumn, or Northern Shrike in winter.
interest to birders: Of the 314 acres, 310 are
native tallgrass prairie, including the 74-acre Paint Brush Prairie Natural
Area comprising the northwest portion of the area. The natural area can be explored by walking
north from the parking lot just east of US 63 on Manilla Rd.
Prescribed burns, grazing and other management practices are
implemented here to maintain healthy prairie conditions. Pay special attention to recently burned
areas, as many birds find feeding in them to their liking. A Red-shafted
(possibly intergrade) flicker was seen among a flock of Northern Flickers
flying off a burned section in early 2016.
A birder’s appreciative attention may well be diverted from avian delights by the often riotous wildflower display on this prairie. You may want to tote that Missouri Wildflowers book when you go for a walk. Mead’s Milkweed, a species listed as threated, occurs naturally, but has declined for many years, prompting MDC to implement a Mead’s Millkweed restoration project here.
Other specialties found at Paint Brush Prairie include 47 species of
planthoppers (an important sparrow food). Here and on nearby relict prairies 132 bee species have been
documented. Prairie Mole Crickets dig
amplifying chamber burrows that send sunset mating calls (sounds like a
chirping smoke alarm) to be heard up to a quarter mile away by human ears. The pink
form of short-winged katydid is also here. Watch also for Ornate box turtles, the praire-loving relative of the
Missouri three-toed box turtle.
Hazards/Limitations: None other than potential for ticks and
chiggers. Sunscreen is recommended.
Sites: Spring Fork Lake*, Mora Prairie CA, Hi
Lonesome Prairie CA*, Drovers Prairie CA, Friendly Prairie CA, Grandfather
Prairie CA, Farrington Park*.
*Indicates Birders’ Guide available when this guide was written. See http://www.mobirds.org/Locations/SiteGuides.aspx for these and