Custer State Park Bird Checklist

Custer State Park Bird Checklist
Birdwatching is one of the activities you can enjoy at Custer State Park in Fairburn, S.D. More than 200 species of birds are common to the Black Hills. The park's visitor center offers a birdwatching guide and checklist. You can find some bird species in the park year-round, while others can only be seen during certain times of the year.

Prairie falcon

The prairie falcon can be seen at Custer State Park all year. This large bird has pale brown markings with a white chest, brown spots and brown bar markings. It also has a dark "mustache" mark on its face and a dark ear patch with pointed wings. View this large falcon nesting atop many cliffs throughout the park.

Gray jay

You can find gray jay in Custer State Park year-round. It is known to frequently approach people for food. This large gray songbird, also known as the Canada jay, is characterized by its long tail, pale gray face and forehead and a short black bill.

Ruby-crowned kinglet

Ruby-crowned kinglets can be seen at Custer State Park during the summer months. It's one of the park's smallest bird. You can easily recognized the ruby-crowned kinglet by its persistent wing flicking. Its length is 3.5 to 4.3 inches with a wingspan of 6.3 to 7.1 inches. Find this tiny bird from tips of branches and barks or as it hovers around moss, conifer needles and other foliage.

Mountain Bluebird

You can spot the mountain bluebird at Custer State park during spring, summer and fall. Distinguishable by its brilliant sky blue color, it has a large round head, small thrush and a chunky body. It prefers open areas and prairie-forest edge with short grass, trees and shrubs. Mountain Bluebirds range from 6.3 inches to 7.9 inches in length.

Lewis's woodpecker

The Lewis's woodpecker inhabits the park year-round. This medium-sized woodpecker can be distinguished by its gray collar and chest, dark-red face and pinkish or salmon-red belly. Its wings and tail are completely dark and free of any spots or patches. Find this woodpecker in the park's open woodlands.

Western tanager

You can view the western tanager in Custer State Park during spring, summer and fall. This slow-moving bird has colorful markings of yellow, red and black. Mostly yellow with dark wings, back and tail, the western tanager also has two bright wing bars. Breeding males has a plumage of an entirely red-colored head. Spot this bird in open, coniferous forested areas of the park.

Rock Wren

Rock wren is a pale gray bird that can be found during the seasons of spring, summer and fall. This small songbird has a faintly striped throat and a long, barred tail with a thin bill. Rock wren averages 4.7 inches to 5.9 inches in length. Look for rock wren in the arid areas of the park and in places with many rock structures.

Brown Creeper

Brown creepers can be seen during the summer months, although you may have to look extra hard to find them. This bird is small and well-camouflaged with its surroundings. It also has distinctive habits, such as creeping along tree trunks and spiraling in an upward motion. To find this bird, look for its streaked white and brown upper parts, long tail and long thin bill. Brown creepers are bark forager and inhabits coniferous forests.

Article Written By Rona Aquino

Rona Aquino began writing professionally in 2008. As an avid marathon runner and outdoor enthusiast, she writes on topics of running, fitness and outdoor recreation for various publications. Aquino holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications and English from the University of Maryland College Park.