Meadowlarks and Other Critters

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Meadowlark in Badlands National Park.

I love Meadowlarks.  I love how they sing and how so much volume can come out of a small bird.  They are everywhere out here.  Regis got a video to share so you can hear the song.

I’ve been stalking the wildlife and playing the paparazzi with them.  The Red-Winged Blackbirds fill our campground with their voices.

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Female Red-Winged Blackbird.
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Male Red-Winged Blackbird
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Male Red-Winged Blackbird.

One of our goals today was to see if we could locate any baby sheep.  We found them.  There were 5 baby sheep with one female high up on top of the ridge.  That was probably the safest place for them.  The female appeared to be in charge of the nursery this morning.

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Female Bighorn Sheep and 5 young in Badlands National Park.

They are probably trying to keep those little ones safe from the coyotes, like these below.

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Coyotes in Badlands National Park.

We saw lots of bison and they are very scraggly.  They are shedding their winter coats and they are covered with lots of dried mud.

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Bison in Badlands National Park. It looks a little rough with the shedding and the mud from the recent rains.

We read that we should keep an eye out for Burrowing Owls in the Prairie Dog colonies.  We found some!

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Burrowing Owls in Badlands National Park. Notice the head of the second owl popping up out of the burrow beneath the standing owl.
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Prairie Dog gathering grasses in Badlands National Park.

We noticed that a lot of prairie dogs we have seen look like they have some kind of disease.  I was doing some research online and can’t find any recent articles, but there was an article from 2009 documenting Silvatic plague in the prairie dogs in the Badlands in the Sage Creek Wilderness area.  Park personnel told us to be sure to keep the dog away from the prairie dog colonies because the prairie dogs carry Bubonic plague. The same bacterium in Silvatic plague is responsible for Bubonic plague in humans.  If you follow Park Service guidance, you are not in danger of getting infected.  Keeping pets away from the colonies is important.   The closest Dart got to the colonies was sitting in the car while we drove by or stopped to take pictures from the car.

 

5 Comments on “Meadowlarks and Other Critters

  1. I need to plan a trip through there and spend some time. I didn’t have time to stop with my sisters moving back east. It was just a drive by. 🙁 I love these pictures!! What a treat!!

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