March 15, 2011
If you want to drive almost anywhere from Pierre, South Dakota, you begin by traveling south 33 miles to Interstate 90. From there you can go east to eastern South Dakota, Sioux Falls, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Or you can turn west and go to western South Dakota, the Black Hills, Rapid City and Wyoming. Even though this 33 mile stretch of road is a four lane divided highway, I see a lot of birds along there. Here are photos of nine of the birds I have seen while driving on Highway 83 over the past 16 months.
February 22, 2011
In the winter time there are lots of Rough-legged Hawks along Highway 83, perched on fence posts or utility poles. These hawks arrive in October and stay through March. Ferruginous Hawks are found in the area year round, but they are more commonly seen in the winter months.
June 15, 2012
Short-eared Owls are also more common in the winter months, but they can sometimes be observed in the summer. They are easily seen coursing low over the grasslands at twilight, hunting for small rodents. Sometimes you can get lucky and see one perched on a fence post right next to the road.
March 23, 2012
Last winter was a Snowy Owl invasion year of epic proportions. I saw one of these handsome white birds along Highway 83 on several occasions at dusk.
September 2, 2011
Northern Harriers are very common birds of the central South Dakota grasslands. They are frequently seen hunting over the fields along Highway 83. Male and female Northern Harriers are quite different in appearance. Females are brown; males are light gray.
|Red-tailed Hawk and Western Kingbird|
July 13, 2012
Red-tailed Hawks are a common sight on fence posts throughout South Dakota, and I often stop to take photographs of these birds. Last July I was taking pictures of this Red-tailed Hawk when a Western Kingbird decided it was time to drive this particular hawk out of the neighborhood. The feisty little kingbird accomplished the task after making three passes at the hawk.
June 15, 2012
Ring-necked Pheasant is South Dakota's State Bird, and they can be seen along Highway 83 every day of the year. They don't perch on fence posts very often, but I managed to capture this rooster on a fence cross member one morning last week.
April 5, 2012
Golden Eagles are common winter residents in central South Dakota. They seem to like utility pole crossbars as roosts and lookout positions. Golden Eagles are a nice, rich brown in color and have characteristic golden-toned feathers on the top of the head and the back of the neck.