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State of North Dakota

WLark
Western Meadowlark Sturnella neglecta ©USFWS Mountain-Prairie Website

Birding North Dakota

Experience North Dakota Birding

Neotropical migratory birds (lots of sparrows including Baird's, sharp-tailed and LeConte's); waterfowl, hawks, burrowing owls, Sprague's pipits, gray partridge, and more are found here. Knowing bird songs and habitat enables you spend quality time birding. The beautiful prairie pothole region of ND, with the badlands on the extreme western edge and the mixed grass prairie on the eastern edge with wooded draws and river valleys offers varied habitat to an abundance of birds. Visitors birders traveling to the state of ND find it a worthwhile destination. A rare habitat, the tall grass prairie, is also in the SE region of the state.

Long summer daylight hours - Long days and short nights in the summer (5 AM to 9:45 PM) make it possible to get the most out of a day. Prairie sparrows often sing into the early afternoon and are at their best when exhibiting breeding behavior.

Ecotourism - Birding and ecotourism opportunities await you in North Dakota. Photo opportunities and wildlife viewing are both rewarding pursuits. Whether you have four hours or four days, it's worth a look!

Scenic North Dakota; Birding Hot Spot! - Lewis & Clark were impressed with North Dakota, it's culture and beauty. Now, little traffic, expansive landscapes, farming and ranching, scattered towns and friendly people make North Dakota a prime destination for good old-fashioned relaxation. With maps helping you get around the back roads of the state, birdwatchers can manoeuver the state easily. Birds, Butterflies, Scenery, Wildflowers, butterflies, clean air and wide open spaces. Buffalo, antelope, meadowlarks and prairie dogs make this their home. Sunrises and sunsets that will take your breath away. Time and places so beautiful, so special, words cannot describe.

Variety of Birds - 347 species of birds travel through North Dakota, depending on the season. It is possible to see 100 species in a day.

Eastern and mid North Dakota: The Sheyenne River Valley includes national grasslands with native prairie remnants of mixed and tall grass prairie and oak savanna river riparian areas. This area is part of the state's Scenic Byway and Backway and North Country Trail. Prairie pothole country. Pembina Gorge area, along the Red River in the extreme northeastern corner of the state is plumb bursting with birding, warbling and outdoor opportunities.

Target species for prairie pothole and tall grass prairie region: Baird's, sharp-tailed, LeConte's, grasshopper, savannah, vesper, Henslow's sparrows, Say's phoebe, abundant ducks, waterfowl, horned larks, sedge and marsh wrens, gray catbird, brown thrasher, chipping, grasshopper and clay colored sparrows, occasional sharp-tailed grouse, prairie chickens and gray partridge, marbled gotwit and more. Duck paradise.

Western and SW North Dakota: Cowboy country, pickup trucks and cowboy hats - badlands regions that are dry, arid; Theodore Roosevelt National Park, national grasslands (1.3 million acres of public land). Due to the distances involved, plan for plenty of time to explore this unique area. It's worth the trip. Very scenic, bring your camera for the bison, prairie dogs and rattlesnakes.

Rock wrens, turkey vultures, Sprague's pipit, spotted towhee, Townsend's Solitaire, mountain bluebird, lazuli bunting, assorted sparrows, Loggerhead shrikes, wild turkey, common poorwill (at night); burrowing owls, long-billed curlew, lark bunting, sharp-tailed grouse, gray partridge, black-billed magpie and more.

In short; there are many local attractions available to tourists in any part of the state visited. Come and check it out for yourself!

Contributor

Jean Legge

Dakota Birding

Valley City, ND

jlegge@live.com

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 415

As at May 2014

Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web

Useful Information

State Bird

Western Meadowlark Sturnella neglecta

Forums & Mailing Lists

ND-BIRDS

Mailing List

This website allows you to join or leave the ND-BIRDS list. To confirm your identity and prevent third parties from subscribing you to the list against your will, an e-mail message with a confirmation code will be sent to the address you specify in the form. Simply wait for this message to arrive, then follow the instructions to confirm the operation.

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Birding Pal

Information

Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…

Trip Reports

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2012 [06 June] - Brian Gibbons

Report PDF

…Minnesota and North Dakota are a study in contrasts. The spruce tamarack forests of Sax Zim Bog, home to the Connecticut Warbler, Great Gray Owl, and other boreal birds, is a world away from the wind-swept North Dakota prairie pothole region which hosts a variety of waterbirds, shorebirds, and prairie breeders. Except for a few windy days in the prairie, we had great weather for our explorations of these two diverse states….

2013 [06 June] - Brian Gibbons

Report PDF

…Our next couple of mornings proved challenging as the cold rain kept the birds quiet, but we did see some great things like Mourning Warbler, American Bittern, a prey exchange between a provisioning male Northern Harrier and his mate in midair, Sandhill Crane, Eastern Bluebird, Bobolink, and Blackburnian Warbler…

2014 [06 June] - Brian Gibbons - Minnesota & North Dakota

PDF Report

Birding the forests, bogs, meadows, prairies, ponds, and marshes of Minnesota and North Dakota produced an amazing array of birds and scenery during our eight days on the road. Obvious highlights included Great Gray Owl; a nest of Northern Hawk Owls that all fledged during our three days birding the Sax-Zim Bog; Connecticut Warbler; Black-backed Woodpecker; and a couple of singing Baird’s Sparrows...

2016 [06 June] - Erik Bruhnke

PDF Report

Our 2016 Minnesota & North Dakota tour was filled to the brim with a range of weather, as well as an outstanding array of bird diversity. The varied scenery is always a special highlight of this tour. Each day brought new birds, new sights, and new sounds. It is an amazing experience to be immersed in such a broad spectrum of life, and all of this takes place within the Northwoods of Minnesota and the Prairie Potholes of North Dakota.

Places to Stay

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Missouri River Lodge B&B

Accommodation

Bring your horse or enjoy a horse drawn wagon ride on the trails to view eagles nesting, deer, pheasants, geese and ducks feeding in the fields, birds of all types, and flowers and plants native to ND.

Organisations

Audubon Society in North Dakota

Website

Usual list of local chapters.

Birding Drives Dakota

Website

As a state with 62 National Wildlife Refuges (more than any other state!) North Dakota has a lot to offer - it's one of those very special places left in the world. Our group, Birding Drives Dakota, is a unique coalition of communities working in concert with four of those refuges, and a host of other federal, state and local agencies, to promote birding and conservation…

Dakota Prairie Audubon Society

Information

1514 Skyline Lane, Jamestown, ND 58401 - Lawrence & Amy Igl, President

Fargo Moorhead Audubon Society

Information

A local Audubon chapter dedicated to the gathering, sharing, and dissemination of information pertaining to avian life in the Fargo-Moorhead area and their respective counties of Cass and Clay (No. Dak. and Minn.), with a focus on education, conservation, and public outreach. Bird devotees of all stripes--from casual to serious--are welcome…

Grand Forks Audubon Society

Facebook Page

GrandForksAudubon@gmail.com

Nature Conservancy in the Dakotas

Website

A new and not yet very developed site. Welcome to the home page of the Nature Conservancy of The Dakotas! Here you'll find information on the many ways we're working with the people of the state and the nation to help preserve the diversity of living things by protecting the habitats in which they live…

North Dakota Bird Records Committee

Website

The following is a list of the species and recognizable subspecies that the North Dakota Bird Records Committee would like documented, when found in North Dakota. Any species that is new to the state, or greatly out-of season (such as a Yellow Warbler in the winter); should also be documented.

North Dakota Birding Society

Website

To promote the study of birds in North Dakota, stimulate public interest in birds and foster the preservation of birdlife and its natural habitat…

Festivals

Potholes & Prairie Birding Festival

Information

Don't miss the 10th Annual Potholes & Prairie Birding Festival, June 6-10, 2012 in Carrington, ND… The 2011 festival involved participants from 15 states and Great Britain. Highlights of the five day event included sightings of 132 different bird species, with almost all participants noting at least one life bird and some up to seven life birds. Some of these life birds included the Baird's and LeConte sparrows and gray partridge. Participants voiced their enjoyment of the wonderful birding, wide-open spaces and beauty of North Dakota. They especially enjoyed seeing birds in their full breeding plummage and their mating rituals…

Turtle Mountain Birding Festival

Facebook Page

Birding Festival in scenic Bottineau, ND. Bottineau is a great birding location as open prairie grasslands meet wooded hills and lake country.

Reserves

Audubon NWR

Webpage

Satellite View

Coleharbor, North Dakota. Welcome to Audubon National Wildlife Refuge in west central North Dakota. Thank you for visiting our pages on the world wide web.

Chase Lake NWR

Webpage

Satellite View

Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge lies on the Missouri Coteau, a prairie region once covered with glaciers over 10,000 years ago. As the glacier carved its way across the state, shallow depressions or dents were created. Once the glacier melted, water collected in these depressions. Today, this area is known as the Prairie Pothole Region, one of the most productive ecosystems on Earth. It supports more than 200 species of migratory birds and is known as the duck factory of North America.

Des Lacs NWR

Webpage

Satellite View

Des Lacs NWR encompasses more than 19,500 acres along the Des Lacs River from the Canadian border to a point eight miles south of Kenmare, North Dakota. A mix of natural lakes and managed wetlands in the valley provide a haven for migrating and nesting waterfowl and marsh birds.

Edward M. Brigham III Sanctuary

Webpage

Satellite View

Audubon Dakota manages the 2300-acre Edward M. Brigham III Alkali Lake Sanctuary for birds, other wildlife and people to thrive. This mosaic of interspersed grasslands and wetlands provides habitat for some of North Dakota’s most iconic species of birds, including Western Meadowlarks, Bobolinks, Northern Pintails, Red Heads, and many more. The Sanctuary grasslands encircle 700-acre Alkali Lake which provides feeding grounds for White Pelicans and a diversity of water & shorebirds.

J Clark Salyer NWR

Webpage

Satellite View

J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge lies astride the lower reaches of the Souris River in McHenry and Bottineau counties. The refuge was established in 1935 for the preservation and propagation of migratory waterfowl and other wildlife…

North Dakota - US Fish & Wildlife Service Refuges

Website

Parks etc.

North Dakota's Prairie Potholes

Webpage

Satellite View

Located in the heart of the Prairie Pothole Region, North Dakota contains wetland densities exceeding 150 wetlands per square mile in many areas…

Sullys Hill National Game Preserve

Webpage

Satellite View

Sullys Hill National Game Preserve. Located near Devils Lake, North Dakota, Sullys Hill National Game Preserve is home to richly forested hills, wetlands, and prairie grasslands. Due to this varied habitat Sullys Hill is also home to over 250 species of migratory birds and waterfowl. The refuge consists of 1,674 acres of varied habitat and maintains a big game unit, which is home to American Plains Bison, Rocky Mountain Elk, Whitetail Deer, Wild Turkey, Prairie Dogs, and many other wildlife species. At Sullys Hill there is something for everyone who enjoys the outdoors.

Upper Souris NWR

Webpage

Satellite View

The 1930's brought drought to the Great Plains and disaster to waterfowl. Populations of ducks plummeted to all time lows and conservationists began to act. A flamboyant political cartoonist from Iowa, Jay N. Ding Darling, became director of the newly formed Bureau of Biological Survey and chose J. Clark Salyer as his top aide.

Other Links

Bird Watching in North Dakota

Information

North Dakota has many habitats for a variety of bird life. From the badlands to the prairies, these habitats make North Dakota a great place to go bird watching. Bird watching (sometimes referred to as birding) is a great hobby – interesting and fun with much to be learned….

Birding Drives Dakota

Website

Sprague's Pipit. Baird’s Sparrow. Leconte’s and Nelson’s Sharptail Sparrows. Chestnut Collared Longspurs. See them. Hear them. And check them—and some 320 other fascinating species of birds-- off your life list…

ND Backyard Birding

Website

My name is Sharon Watson. I grew up and still live in the Red River Valley of North Dakota and for as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed being outdoors and watching nature. My hobbies include gardening, birding and photography. Most of my birding occurs in my own backyard. I have been a Purple Martin Landlord since the early nineties and love feeding the various species of birds that live and visit my yard. In fact, I have created a backyard habitat for birds and other wildlife. It is not uncommon for me to see Chickadees, Nuthatches and Woodpeckers, or Squirrels visiting my yard…

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

Website

Since 1965, migratory birds have been a major focus of the research program at Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center (NPWRC). Studies have emphasized waterbirds, including waterfowl (ducks, geese, and swans) and cranes and their habitats. More recently, studies have been added that consider population and community issues of nongame upland species, including passerines and shorebirds. This fact sheet summarizes current work with migratory birds and their habitats and provides a review of past studies that continue to be used to improve management and sustainability of populations.