Robinson, North Dakota
Fox Sparrow in late spring snow
With all of the acres of special types of critical habitat for a multitude of species of nesting songbirds, Kidder County is home to some birds that aren't likely to be found in many place. Every spring native prairie welcomes a variety of passeriformes that love grasslands. North Dakota lies in the path of many birds that migrate further north and return south. Spring brings a great opportunity to add some warblers or other birds that spend but only a brief time in the area.
The highlight of birding in Kidder County can come from your first Baird's, Le Conte's or Nelson's Sparrow. Or how about getting an ID on a Sprague's Pipet. All three sparrows listed have been ID'd just a few miles from Robinson.
Upland Sandpipers, hatched chick and one pipping
Drake Ruddy Duck
We are in the heart of the Missouri Coteau, the Duck Factory. In any direction from Robinson one can walk through native prairie pocked with potholes. The great number of all wetland types sucks the ducks in. Some recharge on their way elsewhere but many find the habitat to suit their needs and call Kidder County home for the breeding season. From the early nesting Mallards and Pintails to the end of season Scaup and Blue-wings, a lot of ducks are raised here. With all of the active breeding pairs the photo ops from blinds is abundant and easy. And because water is the key to finding mature waterfowl so too is where you will find the incredible amount of shorebirds and wading birds as well as songbirds that nest in wetland habitats
While the native prairie can be thought of as the focus of a birding trip to Kidder County, the variety of wetlands hosts a great variety of species. Terns, gulls, wading birds and shorebirds nest here.
But even more impressive is the shorebird migration that passes through sometime in August. Flocks of Short Billed or Long Billed Dowitchers or Sanderlings can be spotted one day and gone the next but they are here. Because shorebird migration is what it is, we get some oddities or rarities. A small group of Hudsonian Godwitts spent a few days on a slough east of town last year, long enough for some visiting birders to confirm an ID.
A variety of gulls and terns nest here. There is an abundance of nesting Black Crowned Night Herons and Bitterns. In late summer all of the white egrets spend a lot of time here. Black, Common and Forster's terns nest in the larger wetlands. Napolean and Franklin Gulls stage in our large wetlands and glean insects in big flocks through the hay fields.
At any time you can hear a winnowing Wilson's Snipe a 'Slough Pumper'. Avocet's, Wilsons Phalarope, Willets and Marbled Godwit's are quite common.
There is so much here for the avid birder. A variety of hawks including Swainson's, Northern Harrier, Red-tailed and Ferruginous nest here. Short Eared and Burrowing Owls love it here too. The fall migration is incredible, you never know what you will see. Eagles, Falcons, and a great variety of hawks come through with the ducks and other migrating species. A heavy winter can bring Snowy's, Great Grey's and Hawk Owls.
And let's not forget about our native bird - the sharp-tailed grouse. While the range is shrinking we still have a healthy population. And it's a grouse so it get's into courting rituals. Lecks are traditional and we can help you find one for viewing/photography
The cool thing about Kidder County for a birder is that because of where we sit we can just about see anything. Check out the Wikipedia list of documented bird sitings in North Dakota