South Dakota’s Great Places: Glacial Lakes and Prairies Birding

A western tanager in northeast South Dakota. (Department of Tourism photo)

A western tanager in northeast South Dakota. (Department of Tourism photo)

PIERRE, S.D. – Some of South Dakota’s Great Places are along the birding trail in northeast South Dakota. The 38 trail sites are home to more than 300 species of birds.

This region is known to be one of the most productive waterfowl breeding areas in North America. The rivers, streams and lakes in the area provide hundreds of miles of shoreline. In these types of habitats songbirds, marsh birds and shorebirds are common. Rare grassland habitat is also prevalently found in the area because of the tall and mixed grasses.

The Glacial Lakes & Prairies Birding Trail brochure describes each of 38 sites with several categories for the birder’s convenience. Categories include what the habitat is, which birds to look for, tips and insider information, best birding months and contact information. A free copy of the Glacial Lakes & Prairies Birding Trail brochure can be obtained by calling 1-800-244-8660. An online copy of the birding guide can be viewed here:

Here are a few reminders before you head out birding. Take caution and slow down when driving on gravel roads in wet and snowy conditions. In many areas, it is recommended that you walk rather than attempt to drive on rough roads, so watch for “No vehicles beyond this point” signs. While there is an abundance of public land in northeast South Dakota, continue to be considerate and respectful of other birders, hunters or photographers.

South Dakota’s Great Places weekly press release series is a project of the South Dakota Department of Tourism, designed to highlight places in South Dakota that are unique to travelers and residents alike. Click on the special “South Dakota’s Great Places” link at to access the complete list of articles.

— From a Department of Tourism news release

Great Faces. Great Places.

South Dakota is an incredibly unique state in that each region offers a completely different experience then the others. Check out each of the regions to see what each has to offer!


Western South Dakota

Featuring the Black Hills, Badlands, the Sturgis Rally. This region tends to be the most popular.


This region of South Dakota offers some of the best hunting and fishing in the entire central US. 

Eastern Region

The eastern region is home to the largest city in the state and provides visitors with a true "prairie" experience.