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Bird Watching

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         Quite frankly we didn't know too much about this until our guests started telling us about the tremendous variety of birds found in the Black Hills -- more than 200 species. ...Perhaps we should spend more time looking up. 
  We have regular guests who return to the Black Hills every year just to go birding.  Many have their favorite locales and are happy to share the information with other birders.
 
         One of the most popular spots for bird watching among casual bird watchers is Canyon Lake in Rapid City. This lake is often ice-free all year and is home to a resident flock of ducks and some swans. More than 30 species of waterfowl have been recorded there. The resident ducks tend Roosevelt Inn of Keystone, South Dakotato be pudgy and tame -- often looking for a hand-out. So this is bird watching that even small children can enjoy.

         More seasoned bird watchers seem to prefer distant locations in the Black Hills where rare and unusual species can be spotted. One of the more popular birding routes is US Highway 14A through Spearfish Canyon. This 20-mile drive Species likely to be seen include grouse, woodpeckers, jays, swallows sapsuckers, finch and swifts, high in the cliffs.  Birds of prey, hawks, eagles and falcons, are seen throughout the hills and a number of rare birds can be seen. Sin
ce it is one a highway, access is easy.

         For those who are really into it, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department says the Black Hills is home to more than 20 rare or endangered species of birds.

        Another point popular with birders is the Badlands National Park with its unique environment and even more rare and unusual species.  There are nearly 30 scenic overlooks along SD Highway 244 where soaring birds can be seen.

         For those who don't want to chase birds, there is always the excellent displays at the Reptile Gardens on US 16 between Rapid City and Keystone. Throughout the summer they have "Birds of Prey" demonstrations which feature native Black Hills birds up close and personal. They also have a collection of exotic birds not native to the black hills, but this is probably a bit too touristy for real birders who may not be impressed by a tic-tac-toe-playing chicken.
    
SD Game,Fish & Parks Wildlife Diversity Page 
 

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