Badlands National Park – Birds


Our primary purpose was to drive and enjoy the Badlands National Park’s scenic loop with stops at all twelve overlook points for photos, and hopefully be able to transverse the unpaved Sage Creek Rim Road side road.  There were also several trailheads, but we opted to stop at only a couple of the shorter hikes.

That being said, I wasn’t really expecting to see much in birds, let alone photograph any.

So I felt pretty lucky to capture three birds.  And, dare I say, two are new lifers?  Yes! 💃

As we entered the park and stopped at the immediate first overlook point, I saw my first new lifer, a Western Meadowlark, singing its heart out on a post away from the crowd.  S/he gave me so many awesome photos, I was tickled yellow!


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Western Meadowlark (Lifer #230)


That was just too easy, I happily thought!

I photographed another Western Meadowlark perched on a stop sign in a windy breeze as we departed another overlook point.


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Western Meadowlark shot from my car window


I was hoping one of those would have flown to the ground for a habitat shot.  But they both were too busy with singing.  There were so many meadowlarks, we could see and hear them out our windows as we continued our drive.

A few more overlooks, and I scored my only Western Meadowlark habitat shot.


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Western Meadowlark


At another overlook with trailhead, I spotted down the hill my next new lifer, a pair of Lark Sparrows.


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Lark Sparrow (Lifer #231)


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 Lark Sparrows


By this point, I was indeed a happy birding gal!

For the third bird, it was at yet another viewpoint.  While walking back, I spotted a flash of blue in the tree above our car.  That was pretty special!


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Mountain Bluebird


It was definitely a win-win birding day for me…..for just a planned scenic drive.  😊

More wildlife to come from the Badlands National Park….bison next!


61 thoughts on “Badlands National Park – Birds

  1. What a great virding day indeed Donna. How beautiful is that Meadow Lark, is it standing on a termite mound? and the Mountain Bluebird is always a fav of mine among your birds. 🙂

    • Thank you, Ashley! The meadowlark is actually on one of the rock formations that I saw from a viewpoint. Yes, that Mountain Bluebird was so pretty, it came, let me take a couple photos, and took off again! RPRT! 🙂

  2. Them meadowlarks sure can belt out the most beautiful songs! We had quite a few in our backyard in Utah when we lived out in the middle of a huge wheatfield! It’s been such a treat seeing your captures. I miss them! Mustn’t forget to mention that delightful bluebird. Love their cheerful blue feathers. 🤗

  3. Wow, what a beautiful bird is that Western meadowlark, great captures of one in action. And a special day out for you as well with two new lifers!

    • They are oh-so pretty! There is an Eastern Meadowlark that lives/breeds year round the entire eastern half of US. You’ll have to look for them in farm fields or tall grassy fields. You’re more likely to hear them before seeing them, they like to be on the ground for the most part. 🙂 I’ve seen Easterns in the fall on farm lands in Maryland, feeding for insects in the leftovers of corn fields. 🙂

  4. Congratulations and congratulations. Two lifers (when you already have so many in the bank) is indeed a fabulous day out! Well done. Those Western Meadowlarks certainly know how to blast out a tune!

    • Thank you, thank you, Mike! I imagine I’m gonna slow down with new ones, lol, it can’t possibly keep going up so easily. 🙂 Oh I just loved seeing that meadowlark sing, it was such a happy, loud song!

  5. Pingback: Badlands National Park – Birds — Photos by Donna – ° BLOG ° Gabriele Romano

  6. Wonderful photos Donna! I think that back in 1983 when we visited the Badlands with young children I was so taken with the landscape that I didn’t even think to focus on birds. These are great!

    • Thank you, Susan! Sometimes the big picture wins over and takes your breath away. 🙂 Sometimes I was looking at the big picture and forgetting to glance for birds myself. Until I heard one, lol.

  7. Fantastic! You are going to have a very productive season, Donna. The congratulations are in order again for the new lifers. I should also include the great photos, especially the first one. 🙂

  8. Pingback: Badlands National Park – Bighorn Sheep | Photos by Donna

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