Dakota Water Birds

The prairie pothole region of the northern plains is a result of the last glaciation ice age of 10,000 years ago. The Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa and parts of Montana comprise the pothole region as do Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta provinces in Canada.  The shallow ponds, lakes and sloughs are important habitat for migrating waterfowl and other birds.  Kidder County, just east of Burleigh County, is one of the top birding sites in the United States.

Dakota Waterbirds



White-faced Ibis



White-faced Ibis



Northern Shoveler



Black-crowned Night-Heron



Northern Pintails



Wilson's Snipe



Pectoral Sandpiper



Canada Geese



American Bittern



Wilson's Phalarope



Franklin's Gull



Common Terns



American Bittern



White-faced Ibis



Wood Duck



Mallard



Green-winged Teals


American Avocet



American Avocet



Eared Grebe



Horned Grebe



Marbled Godwit


Canada Geese



Canada Goose



American Coots


Black-crowned Night-Heron


This black-crowned night-heron has found a salamander for breakfast. If you look closely, the heron's eye is partially covered by the nictitating membrane which protects the eye but allows vision. Birds and reptiles use the membrane during activities that may have potential of eye injury, such as trying to subdue your breakfast.


Great Blue Herons


The great blue heron is found throughout much of the United States but they are seasonal to North Dakota.  They are the largest heron in North America with a height over 4 feet tall and a wingspan of nearly 6 1/2 feet long.


Canada Geese


American Coot


Black-crowned Night-Heron


Marbled Godwit


Black-crowned Night-Heron


Eared Grebe


Black-crowned Night-Heron


White-faced Ibis


Black-crowned Night-Heron


Wood Duck

Burleigh County


Wood Ducks are unique.  The have claws that allow them to perch on and nest in trees.  The feed on water plants but also berries, seeds, acorns and insects on land.   Wood Duck numbers were critically low in the early 1900s due to habitat loss and overhunting for meat and feathers.   The  U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 allowed Wood Duck populations to recover slowly.  Many communities promote nesting boxes near lakes and ponds.


Horned Grebe

Long Lake National Wildlife Refuge


Horned Grebes are named from the large patches of yellowish feathers located behind their eyes, called "horns", which they can raise and lower at will.


Northern Shoveler

Long Lake National Wildlife Refuge


Northern shovelers are named from the shape of its bill, which has small, comb-like structures on the edge of the bill that act like sieves, allowing the birds to skim crustaceans and plankton from the water's surface.


American Avocet

Burleigh County


American avocets breed in Western states from Texas and New Mexico to Alberta and Saskatchewan and winter in Texas, California and Central America.


Northern Shovelers

Long Lake National Wildlife Refuge


The breeding drake has an iridescent dark green or blue head, white breast and chestnut belly and flanks. In flight, pale blue forewing feathers are revealed, separated from the green speculum by a white border.


The female is a drab mottled brown like other dabblers, with plumage much like a female mallard, but easily distinguished by the long broad bill, which is gray tinged with orange on cutting edge and lower mandible. The female's forewing is gray.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_shoveler


Bonaparte's Gull

Burleigh County


The Bonaparte's Gull is the only gull that regularly nests in trees.

Bonaparte's Gull is named after Charles Lucien Bonaparte, who made important contributions to American ornithology while an active member of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia during the 1820s.


Ring-billed Gull

Burleigh County


Ring-billed gulls breed near lakes, rivers, or the coast in Canada and the northern United States. They nest colonially on the ground, often on islands.


Common Mergansers

Long Lake National Wildlife Refuge


The common merganser breeds in Canada and northwestern states and winters in southern states.  The common merganser eats fish and nests in holes in trees.


White Pelican

Long Lake National Wildlife Refuge


The American white pelican rivals the trumpeter swan, with a similar overall length, as the longest bird native to North America.  The species also has the second largest average wingspan of any North American bird, after the California condor.  White pelicans breed in southern Canada and in selected areas of western United States.


Willet

Burleigh County


Willets nest in the Northern Plains and the Prairie Provinces of Canada south to north-eastern California, northern Colorado and western Nebraska and winter on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts and Central and South America.

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