May 20-22, 2016
Pickstown, Lake Andes and Wagner, South Dakota
The South Dakota Birding Festival at Fort Randall is held in an area with 322 recorded species of birds, of which 164 remain to breed in what is called the great lakes region of South Dakota. The area is an important rest stop for millions of migratory waterfowl in the spring and fall.
Previous festival participants discovered a Western Grebe paired with a Clark’s Grebe. Clark’s are rare here, and to see one paired with a Western was unique. A Least Bittern was seen and photographed when it “froze” a few feet from a walking path. More were heard in a nearby marsh.
South Dakota Birding Festival Habitat Bonanza
In grassland habitat areas, birders can find the Upland Sandpiper, Greater Prairie-chicken, Bobolink and Short-eared Owl. Sandhill Cranes are annual migrants.
Missouri River sandbars are nesting habitat for Piping Plovers and Least Terns. Reservoirs attract waterfowls, gulls, terns and ducks such as the Common Common Goldeneye, Canvasback, Canada and Cackling geese, and Franklin’s Gull.
Prairie pothole lakes and wetlands teem with migrating and nesting ducks, wading birds, shorebirds and wetland species, including the Hooded Merganser, Wilson’s Phalarope, Willet, Least Bittern, and Sedge Wren. Raptors include the Bald Eagle, Swainson’s Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk and American Kestrel.
The region’s woodlands are magnets for three dozen species of warblers during spring migration, including Blackburnian, Cape May, Magnolia and Mourning warblers.
Activities include guided field trips, bird banding, bird identification, talks and children’s activities.
Birding Festival Organizer
Our corner of South Dakota offers many choices for planning your next vacation or road trip.
The Southeast South Dakota Tourism Association promotes the beautiful lakes and rivers that offer great outdoor adventure in fishing, boating, or swimming. Simply connect with nature and enjoy a shady campsite or hike one of our trails.
History and heritage pervade our region. Explore the Missouri River as Lewis & Clark did over 200 years ago. Ethnic festivals and powwows bring an exciting experience in our rich cultural heritage.
Follow our winery trail to one of our scenic vineyards and sample the fine wines made in our region. Request a free travel packet today and start planning your next South Dakota adventure.