Welcome to our guide on Blue Birds in North Dakota! North Dakota is characterized by its vast plains, rolling hills, and sparse population, making it a serene getaway for bird watchers and nature enthusiasts alike. This state is home to a variety of bird species, including bluebird species, several that are adorned with mesmerizing shades of blue.
Our guide provides detailed information on 12 blue bird species found in North Dakota, complete with a free photo guide to help you identify and appreciate these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat. Whether you are a seasoned birdwatcher or a beginner, this guide is the perfect companion for your next bird-watching adventure in North Dakota.
Blue Birds Found In North Dakota
The diverse range of birds found in North Dakota can be attributed to its varied geography, which includes prairies, wetlands, and woodlands. The state lies in the Central Flyway, a major migration route for birds traveling between their breeding and wintering grounds. This, combined with the availability of food and varied habitats, makes North Dakota a hotspot for bird diversity, attracting both common and rare species, including a variety of beautiful blue birds.
Scientific Name: Petrochelidon pyrrhonota
Length: 5-6 in (13-15 cm)
Wingspan: 11-12 in (28-30 cm)
Weight: 0.7-1 oz (20-28 g)
The Cliff Swallow is a small, agile bird known for its characteristic mud nests, social behavior, and long-distance migrations.
Appearance: Cliff Swallows have a distinctive appearance with a dark blue back, a cream-colored forehead, an orange-brown rump, and a buffy or whitish underbelly. They also have a square or slightly notched tail.
Diet: The diet of Cliff Swallows primarily consists of flying insects, including flies, beetles, and wasps, which they catch in the air while flying.
Reproduction: Cliff Swallows are known for building gourd-shaped mud nests, often in colonies on vertical cliff faces, bridges, or buildings. The female typically lays a clutch of 3 to 6 white eggs. Both parents participate in incubating the eggs and feeding the chicks.
Scientific Name: Progne subis
Length: 7.5-9.1 in (19-23 cm)
Wingspan: 15.3-16.1 in (39-41 cm)
Weight: 1.9-2.3 oz (55-65 g)
The Purple Martin is a popular and widely recognized bird species, known for its acrobatic flight and social behavior.
Appearance: Purple Martins have a dark, glossy purple-blue plumage. Males are almost entirely dark purple while females and young birds have a lighter, greyish belly and throat.
Diet: The diet of Purple Martins primarily consists of flying insects such as beetles, flies, dragonflies, and moths. They catch their prey in mid-air while flying.
Reproduction: Purple Martins nest in colonies, often using artificial nest boxes provided by humans. The female typically lays a clutch of 4 to 6 white eggs, and both parents participate in incubating the eggs and feeding the chicks.
Little Blue Heron
Scientific Name: Egretta caerulea
Length: 22-29 in (56-74 cm)
Wingspan: 39-41 in (99-104 cm)
Weight: 12-14.5 oz (340-410 g)
The Little Blue Heron is a small, slender wading bird found in the Americas.
Appearance: Adults have a dark, slate-blue body and head, with a purplish neck and reddish-brown or maroon-brown throat. Immature birds are entirely white except for vague dusky tips on the outer primary feathers. The legs are greenish-yellow in juveniles and adults but change to dark during breeding season.
Diet: The Little Blue Heron feeds primarily on small fish, but its diet also includes insects, amphibians, and crustaceans. It typically hunts by wading slowly through shallow water and uses its sharp bill to capture its prey.
Reproduction: The Little Blue Heron breeds in colonies, often with other wading birds. The nest is a platform made of sticks, usually placed in trees or shrubs over water. The female lays a clutch of 3 to 5 pale blue or greenish eggs, which she incubates for about 22-24 days. Both parents feed the chicks, which fledge about 30 days after hatching.
Where to Spot North Dakota’s Blue Birds
North Dakota is a hidden gem for birdwatchers, boasting a rich variety of habitats that attract a wide array of bird species, including the mesmerizing blue birds. Here are the top locations in North Dakota known for the greatest diversity of birds:
- Theodore Roosevelt National Park: This national park is not only a tribute to a president who was a dedicated conservationist, but also a haven for birds. The park’s diverse habitats, from prairies to forests, attract a wide variety of bird species, making it a must-visit spot for birdwatchers.
- Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge: Located in the northwestern part of the state, this refuge is known for its grasslands that attract many species of birds, including the Baird’s Sparrow and Sprague’s Pipit.
- Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge: This is one of the oldest national wildlife refuges in the United States and is home to one of the largest colonies of American White Pelicans. The diverse habitats here support a wide variety of bird species.
- Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge: Located along the James River, this refuge offers a mix of wetlands, prairies, and forests, making it an ideal location for spotting a diverse range of birds.
- Lake Sakakawea: This is one of the largest man-made reservoirs in the United States, and its vast expanse of water attracts a variety of waterfowl and shorebirds. The surrounding areas also support many other bird species.
|Neighboring States||Best Spots for Blue Birds|
|South Dakota’s Blue Birds||1. Custer State Park |
2. Badlands National Park
3. Bear Butte State Park
|Montana’s Blue Birds||1. Glacier National Park |
2. National Bison Range
FAQs on Blue Bird Species Found in North Dakota
What should I provide as nesting material for House Sparrows?
House Sparrow nesting material is known to use a wide variety of materials to build their nests. Common materials include twigs, leaves, paper, and feathers. However, you can also provide them with straw, hay, or pine needles. It is best to provide a mix of materials and let the birds choose what they prefer. Avoid providing materials like plastic strips, yarn, or anything that could potentially harm the birds or their chicks. Remember, House Sparrows are cavity-nesting birds, so they will often build their nests in natural or artificial cavity, such as old woodpecker hole, building vent, or nest box.
What can I do to attract Red-Winged Blackbird to my yard?
Red-Winged Blackbirds are common to birding locations across North America and are usually found in scattered trees, wetlands, marshes, and areas with open water. However, they can also be attracted to your yard. Firstly, make sure you have a water source available, like a bird bath or a small pond. Secondly, Red-Winged Blackbirds are primarily omnivorous, and their diet includes insects, seeds, and grains. You can attract them by putting out bird feeders filled with black oil sunflower seeds, cracked corn, and other grains. Additionally, planting native plants that attract mostly insects can also help since they eat insects. Finally, providing backyard birds a nesting location with tall reeds or grasses can also encourage these blue beauties to stay.
What are the differences between western bluebirds and other bluebird species?
Western bluebirds are one of the three species of bluebirds found in North America. For bird identification, they have a bright blue plumage on their head and back, which is a key characteristic of all bluebird species, but the western bluebirds have a rusty-orange chest and a pale brown belly. The eastern bluebird’s tiny body has a bright red-orange chest, while the mountain bluebird is mostly bluish-gray with a lighter belly. The range maps and habitat preferences also vary among the bluebird species, with western bluebirds being found mainly in the western half of the continent.
How can I attract Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds to my garden?
The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird is the only species of hummingbird that breeds in the eastern half of North America. To attract these beautiful birds to the bird feeder in your garden, start by planting native plants that produce nectar-rich flowers. Hummingbirds are particularly attracted to bright red, orange, or pink tubular flowers, as they can easily access the nectar with their long tongues. Additionally, you can also set up hummingbird feeders filled with a mixture of sugar water (1 part sugar to 4 parts water). Make sure to clean the feeders regularly to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and mold. Also, provide a water source for them to bathe and drink from. Avoid using pesticides in your garden as hummingbirds also eat insects and spiders for protein, and pesticides can be harmful to them.