Written by Cheryl Mandich (Northern Plains Conservation Coordinator, American Bird Conservancy). Shared on iGrow by Pete Bauman.
For over a decade the South Dakota Grassland Coalition has partnered with many organizations, including SDSU Extension, to bring the annual “Birds: At Home on the Range” birding tour to farms and ranches across South Dakota. This year, all are invited to attend the 11th annual tour to be held near Meadow, South Dakota at the Dan and Sharon Anderson Ranch on June 9th and 10th.
The Bird Tour provides the opportunity to learn about the connections between birds, livestock, and sustainable land use. Those attending will hear presentations from the Anderson’s, bird experts, and area conservationists. Also included is ample time to watch, photograph and record bird species, livestock, and wildlife. This family friendly event is a great way to and two days on the South Dakota Prairie learning about how birds can indicate healthy pasture management.
The Anderson family raises cattle and sheep on their ranch and have implemented a variety of conservation practices to obtain and maintain healthy and productive rangeland conditions. The gains from managing grazing lands in a sustainable fashion include healthier soils, a diverse plant community, a mosaic of habitats for birds and wildlife, and healthier livestock. Tour attendees will be able to interact with the Anderson’s and ask questions about the conservation practices they use.
How does the Bird Tour work?
Friday evening and Saturday morning birding will be conducted on the ranch. These birding sessions are often led by local experts sharing their knowledge with tour participants. In addition, there are a variety of events to participate in including bird identification, nest dragging, plant identification, and a rainfall simulator demonstration. The tour is open to all ages and is a great event whether you participate by yourself or make it a family affair. A kid’s activity will be provided on Saturday which will be either assembly of a bird house or pollinator mud ball (take home afterwards).
During Saturday lunch, a slide show will feature photos taken by the group over the 2-day tour. Information will be provided beforehand on how participants can submit the photos they took during the two days to be included in the slide show.
Registration for the Bird Tour is $20 per adult; kids/students are free. Meals are included, but lodging is on your own. For more information and to register contact Judge Jessop 605.280.0127 or view the tour brochure.
Photos courtesy of Dan Casey.