South Dakota is a land of surprising bird and wildlife diversity offering much more than the expansive and rolling prairies that most commonly meet the eye. Few people live among the mesmerizing spires and painted cliffs of Badlands National Park and the seemingly endless rolling Black Hills that surround them, but add to those densely wooded areas and several massive reservoirs, and you begin to understand why South Dakota is a haven for many delightful species that fly, burrow and graze.
Healthy herds of bison and pronghorn and “prairie dog towns” are among the many delights of this tour, which takes in Devil’s Tower, the Black Hills, Badlands National Park, Custer National Park and charming and historic Spearfish, SD.
We expect to see many grassland birds like Sharp-tailed Grouse, Northern Harrier, Upland Sandpiper, Long-billed Curlew, Marbled Godwit, Loggerhead Shrike, Horned Lark, Grasshopper Sparrow, Lark Bunting, Vesper Sparrow, and Dickcissel, among others. We may also see Wild Turkey, Golden Eagle, Ferruginous Hawk, White-throated Swift, Prairie Falcon, Say’s Phoebe, Black-billed Magpie, Rock Wren, Mountain Bluebird, Blue Grosbeak, and Orchard Oriole.
The breathtaking Black Hills are home to Ruffed Grouse, Red-naped Sapsucker, Say’s Phoebe, Golden-crowned Kinglet, American Dipper, Western Tanager, and Red Crossbill, among many other species.
More details coming soon!
Bison at Custer State National Park, Mytownblackhills via Creative Commons
Custer State National Park, bartjuan via Creative Commons
Devil's Tower, halfuur via Creative Commons
Needles, Runner1928 via Creative Commons
Orchard Oriole, Dan Pancamo via Creative Commons
Red Crossbill by Peg Abbott
Ruffed Grouse by Peg Abbott
Sharp-tailed Grouse by USFWS Mountain-Prairie
Peter is a lifetime birder raised in central New Jersey. Based in Boulder, CO, he is editor of Colorado Birds and a long-serving board member of Colorado Field Ornithologists. Peter has led birding adventures throughout Colorado and to destinations around the U.S., Mexico, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. An accomplished photographer, Peter’s images have been published in numerous magazines and field guides including The Peterson Field Guide of Bird Sounds in Western North America, Cotingas and Manakins and a forthcoming Field Identification app.
Photo credit: Hugh Simmons Photography
Other trips with Peter Burke
Photo credits: Banners, all via Creative Commons: Custer National Park, bartjuan; Sharp-tailed Grouse, USFWS Mountain-Prairie; Badlands National Park, Martin Kraft; Trumpeter Swan, Jacob W. Frank; Devil's Tower, halfuur; Bison herds, Mytownblackhills.