Eastern South Dakota is a stopping place for millions of birds following both the Central and Mississippi migratory flyways in spring and fall. It's varied habitats offer the right environment for nearly 150 nesting species, along with a number of species that nest in the northern reaches of the continent spending each winter here.
The Missouri River provides sandbars, on which may be found nesting Piping Plovers and Least Turns, and miles-long reservoirs with quiet bays where one may find many species of waterfowls, gulls and terns, including Common Goldeneye, Canvas back, Canada and Cackling geese, and Franklin’s Gull. Sabine’s Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake and Arctic Tern have been found at Gavins Point Dam. Riparian and cottonwood habitats along the shores of the Missouri, James and Big Sioux rivers attract dozens of songbird species, including Bell’s Vireo, Baltimore Oriole, Yellow-billed Cuckoo and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.