North Dakota Birding Resources

Most visiting birders come to North Dakota for grassland birds. These species have evolved in a dynamic system characterized by changing local conditions from year to year.


The Nifty Fifty

The Nifty Fifty is a mini-guide to the birds of North Dakota. It includes descriptions, images, video and songs of 50 of the most often observed birds of North Dakota. View the guide by clicking here or on the Nifty Fifty link on the left.

You will need the free Flash player to view the guide.

Some birds prefer to stay near the ground, while others are almost always seen high in a tree. Look for the following notations in the species descriptions to determine where the species is most likely to be seen. If a note is not present, the bird does not have a strong affinity for a particular region.

  • Look high.
  • Look mid-story.
  • Look low.

State Information

Checklist of North Dakota Birds


Recent Bird Sightings

(701) 355-8554 Statewide


Birding Locations

Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge

J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge


Western Meadowlark

North Dakota State Bird - Northern Cardinal


North Dakota Birding Events

Burke County Birding Festival
Annually in June

Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge
, Bowbells, North Dakota
Phone: 701-377-5627

Lostwood NWR has a seven mile auto tour and a seven mile hiking trail. Bird watchers visit here for the abundant grasshopper sparrow, Sprague's pipit, Baird's sparrow and the piping plover. The lookout tower has been refurbished to accommodate the public and enables a 360-degree view of the Refuge from 50 feet in the air!
 We will have guided birding tours, guided walks, wildflower identification and youth activities. Shorebirds and waterfowl seminars will be on Saturday in addition to music, art, farmers market and family events in the afternoon.


Potholes and Prairie Birding Festival

Annually in June
Jamestown, North Dakota
Phone: 888-921-2473

As a state with 62 National Wildlife Refuges (more than any other state!) North Dakota has a lot to offer-it's one of those very special places left in the world. Our group, Birding Drives Dakota, is a unique coalition of communities working in concert with four of those refuges, and a host of other federal, state and local agencies, to promote birding and conservation. We have developed a network of birding trails or, as we are calling them here, birding drives, that encourage anyone interested in watching wildlife to go out and appreciate the richness of the Prairie Potholes.


Sullys Hill Birding and Nature Festival

Annually in June
Fort Totten, North Dakota

Phone: 701-766-4272
Join us and enjoy a fun and educational celebration of migratory birds, wildlife, and nature! The Sullys Hill Birding and Nature Festival is, simply put, a celebration of birding, nature, and history. The purpose of this festival is to offer educational, engaging, and enjoyable programs, presentations, workshops, and outdoors recreational opportunities for people who enjoy birding and the outdoors. Visitors have opportunities to take guided birding & nature walks or on your own walks in and around Sullys Hill, the Lake Alice National Wildlife Refuge, Kelly's Slough National Wildlife Refuge, Grahams Island State Park, Fort Totten State Historic Site, and other areas in the Devils Lake region of North Dakota. The Festival is FREE and open to the public. Pre-registration is recommended. Sullys Hill Wildlife Refuge Society, P.O. Box 286, Fort Totten, ND 58335


Other resources and locations

If you have suggestions for additional birding resources in North Dakota, from web sites to your favorite birding location, submit your information using the following form. You can cut and paste large amounts if text into the information field. Birding locations are the most desired, but any good resource on North Dakota birds is welcomed.

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