“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Sundance in Crook County, Wyoming — The American West (Mountains)

Bird of the Black Hills

The Black Hills are Home to more than 200 Species of Glorious Birds

Bird of the Black Hills Marker image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, June 7, 2011
1. Bird of the Black Hills Marker
Inscription. The Red Valley surrounding you belongs to the transition zone between the flat, treeless Great Plains and the pine-forested Black Hills. Artesian springs and creeks draining from the hills and mountains create draws that provide water, shade, and food for wildlife. The mixture of habitats here attract abundant birds and mammals, making this an excellent area for wildlife viewing, particularly birding. Here are some of the many species you might see in these red lands stretching between Spearfish, South Dakota, and Sundance, Wyoming.

Great Blue Heron
In the upper branches of an old cottonwood grove northeast of here is a great blue heron rookery - one of many in the region. this is the summer roost of about three dozen heron couples and their chicks. The colony migrates south for the winter - probably to the Texas Gulf Coast like many other northern plains herons and cranes - though it returns here each spring. Herons are often seen near water, their favorite food being fish. However, they also eat frogs, lizards, snakes, insects, and rodents.

Dark-eyed Junco
Juncos are common, year-round residents of the Black Hills. Belonging to the finch family, these songbirds flit around the shrubs and grasses at the forest's edge. Announcing the arrival spring, their song is strongest in March. Unlike herons, junco couples

Wyoming Welcome Center image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, June 7, 2011
2. Wyoming Welcome Center
do not nest near other juncos. They spend summer months occupying higher elevations and feeding on insects. In winter, they move to lowlands where they eat berries and grains.

Buffalo Bird, a.k.a. Brown-headed Cowbird
Buffalo birds adapted to life on the plains. With the demise of the bison, the birds' lifestyle and their name have evolved to include cattle. now called brown-headed cowbirds, they perch on cattle, picking parasites off their backs, or hop behind them, eating grasshoppers and other insects disturbed by hooves. Having developed a nomadic lifestyle, these birds do not build their own nests to raise their young. They have become parasites, themselves, laying eggs in other birds' nests and depending upon them to incubate and brood cowbird chicks.

Turkey Vulture
Turkey vultures often dwell near areas of mountains or cliffs, Dramatic changes in topography create thermals (rising currents of warm air) which lift turkey vultures as they glide. Thermals also carry the odor of carrion to their unusually acute nostrils, and their keen eyes can distinguish carcasses from two miles in the air. Despite their association with death and decay, these sociable animals roost in flocks in cliffs and crevices, hunt as a group and migrate south together for the winter.
Location. 44° 31.661′ N, 104° 12.346′ W. Marker is in Sundance, Wyoming, in Crook County. Marker is on Interstate 90. Click for map. Marker is at the Wyoming Welcome Center. Marker is in this post office area: Sundance WY 82729, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Paha Sapa, Black Hills (here, next to this marker); Petrified Trees (here, next to this marker); The Vore Buffalo Jump (here, next to this marker); Rich Colors, Rich Lands (here, next to this marker); The Custer Trail (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Vore Buffalo Jump (approx. 2.5 miles away); Understanding Bison Behavior Brought Success (approx. 2.5 miles away); The Ideal Hunting Ground (approx. 2.5 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Sundance.
Categories. Animals

Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 549 times since then and 98 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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