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
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 to 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. Since it is one a highway, access is
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
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