Spearfish Canyon Birding

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If you've never considered yourself a bird-watcher, there's no better place to start than Spearfish Canyon. It's home to 130 bird species, including some you're unlikely to find in your backyard. This is where eagles launch themselves from the high rimrock and glide on canyon air currents, then suddenly drop to snare a trout. Other large, dark birds that visitors sometimes mistake for eagles in-flight are turkey buzzards. There's no mistaking them up close and on the ground, though. Turkey buzzards' heads resemble something prehistoric, and they usually stink because they spend their time devouring dead animals. But turkey buzzards keep the canyon tidy so Black Hills people love them -- sort of, from a distance. For all the attention big eagles and turkey buzzards get, true bird-watchers are often more excited about catching glimpses of rare North American dippers in action. Tiny dippers plunge into icy Spearfish Creek, submerging themselves completely while plucking aquatic bugs.
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Paul writes about the Black Hills for in-flight airline publications, academic magazines, South Dakota Magazine, public TV, newspapers and websites. He is the author of five books, all Black Hills themed. He lives in the Black Hills. He's obviously no Renaissance Man with varied interests, but if the Black Hills are your thing, he's your guy.

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