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Bird Checklists of the United States

Fort Union Trading Post NHS

Williston, North Dakota


Ever since Louis and Clark passed the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers, the area has attracted naturalists. Thomas Nuttall came here in 1811, seventeen years before Fort Union was built, and over the years naturalists took advantage of the American Fur Co.'s hospitality and used Fort Union as a base of operations. John James Audubon spent two months at Fort Union in the summer of 1843 and observed for the first time the varieties of flickers in the area. One day, someone brought him five flickers "which I think will puzzle all the naturalists in the world." Each had different markings--red stripes on the cheeks, black stripes on the cheeks, and red and yellow wings. Audubon called them "Red-shafted Woodpeckers." Today, the American Ornithological Union counts them as one species, the flicker, with wide variations. While here, Audubon also collected the first Sprague's pipits, named for Isaac Sprague and the first Baird's buntings, now called Baird's sparrow. It was the first bird named for Spencer F. Baird, the famous ornithologist, and it is the last bird in Audubons's Birds of America.

Although Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site was established to interpret the Upper Missouri fur trade, it is an excellent place to watch birds. The 443-acre park has two types of habitat: prairie and Missouri River bottomland.

As in all habitats, the bird species continue to change. Audubon saw 46 species in the two months he spent here; all together the historical ornithologists saw 89 species. This list contains 138 species, but many are suspected. Park personnel would like to know what visiting birders confirm so that this list can be revised as needed.


SEASONS

S - Spring: March through May
S - Summer: June through August
F - Fall: September through November
W - Winter: December through February

CODE DEFINITIONS

c - Common species: abundant in suitable habitats; habitat is widespread
u - Uncommon: present but not certain to be seen on each trip
f - Fairly common in most suitable habitats
r - Rare: local occurrence within park, low numbers in area
s - Suspected: not observed WITHIN the park or in that season, but has been seen in the area and MAY be present
x - Species that are known to have nested in the park. Active nests with eggs or young, adults and dependent young, etc.


LOONS & GREBES S S F W ___ Pied-billed Grebe s - s -
PELICANS & CORMORANTS S S F W ___ American White Pelican - c - - ___ Double-crested Cormorant s u s -
WATERFOWL S S F W ___ Canada Goose c c c f ___ Snow Goose u - s - ___ Green-winged Teal s - s - ___ Mallard year-round ___ Northern Pintail s s s - ___ Blue-winged Teal s u s - ___ Northern Shoveler s s s - ___ Gadwall s s s - ___ American Wigeon s s s - ___ Canvasback s - s - ___ Redhead s - s - ___ Lesser Scaup s - s - ___ Common Goldeneye s - s - ___ Ruddy Duck s - s - ___ Bufflehead s - s -
VULTURES & HAWKS S S F W ___ Turkey Vulture u u u - ___ Northern Harrier c c c - ___ Northern Goshawk r - - - ___ Bald Eagle r r r r ___ Golden Eagle u u u u ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk - s s - ___ Cooper's Hawk - s s - ___ Merlin - s s - ___ Swainson's Hawk u u u - ___ Red-tailed Hawk u u u - ___ Rough-legged Hawk - - u s ___ American Kestrel u u u s ___ Peregrine Falcon s - s -
GALLINACEOUS BIRDS S S F W ___ Gray Partridge c c c c ___ Ring-necked Pheasant c c c c ___ Sharp-tailed Grouse u u u u ___ Wild Turkey c c c c
CRANES & RAILS S S F W ___ American Coot s - s - ___ Sandhill Crane r - r -
PLOVERS & TURNSTONES S S F W ___ Killdeer c c c -
SNIPES, SANDPIPERS, & STILTS S S F W ___ American Avocet s s s - ___ Willet s - s - ___ Spotted Sandpiper c c - - ___ Upland Sandpiper u u - - ___ Marbled Godwit s - s - ___ Common Snipe s - s - ___ Wilson's Phalarope s - s -
GULLS & TERNS S S F W ___ Ring-billed Gull u u u - ___ California Gull s s s - ___ Common Tern s s - - ___ Black Tern s s - -
PIGEONS & CUCKOOS S S F W ___ Rock Dove s s s s ___ Mourning Dove c c c - ___ Black-billed Cuckoo s c - -
OWLS & GOATSUCKERS S S F W ___ Great Horned Owl c cx c c ___ Snowy Owl - - s u ___ Burrowing Owl s s - - ___ Long-eared Owl s s s - ___ Short-eared Owl r r r r ___ Northern Saw-whet Owl s s s s ___ Common Nighthawk - u - -
HUMMINGBIRDS & KINGFISHERS S S F W ___ Belted Kingfisher - s s -
WOODPECKERS S S F W ___ Hairy Woodpecker u u u u ___ Red-headed Woodpecker c c c - ___ Downy Woodpecker c c c c ___ Northern Flicker s c s -
FLYCATCHERS S S F W ___ Least Flycatcher f f s - ___ Say's Phoebe r r r - ___ Western Kingbird - - - - ___ Eastern Kingbird c c c -
LARKS & SWALLOWS S S F W ___ Horned Lark u u u f ___ Tree Swallow u u u - ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow f f f - ___ Bank Swallow c c c - ___ Cliff Swallow c c c - ___ Barn Swallow c cx c -
JAYS, MAGPIES & CROWS S S F W ___ Blue Jay - s - - ___ Black-billed Magpie s c - s ___ American Crow c c c s
CHICKADEES, NUTHATCHES & CREEPERS S S F W ___ Black-capped Chickadee f f c c ___ White-breasted Nuthatch u u u u ___ Brown Creeper s s s -
WRENS & KINGLETS S S F W ___ House Wren c c c - ___ Golden-crowned Kinglet s - s -
THRUSHES & THRASHERS S S F W ___ Mountain Bluebird r - s - ___ American Robin c cx c - ___ Gray Catbird f f f - ___ Brown Thrasher c c c -
PIPITS & WAXWINGS S S F W ___ Sprague's Pipit s s - - ___ Bohemian Waxwing s - - s ___ Cedar Waxwing s f s -
SHRIKES & STARLINGS S S F W ___ Northern Shrike s s s - ___ European Starling f f f f
VIREOS & WOOD WARBLERS S S F W ___ Warbling Vireo u u - - ___ Red-eyed Vireo c c c - ___ Yellow Warbler m c - - ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler u - u - ___ Black-and-White Warbler f s f - ___ Blackpoll Warbler s - s - ___ American Redstart c c c - ___ Ovenbird c u f - ___ Common Yellowthroat c c s - ___ Yellow-breasted Chat m s - -
TANAGERS, GROSBEAKS, & BUNTINGS S S F W ___ Black-headed Grosbeak - s - - ___ Lazuli Bunting - c - -
TOWHEES, SPARROWS, JUNCOS, & LONGSPURS S S F W ___ Rufous-sided Towhee c c c - ___ American Tree Sparrow c - c r ___ Chipping Sparrow c u c - ___ Clay-colored Sparrow c c c - ___ Field Sparrow f f f - ___ Vesper Sparrow u u u - ___ Lark Sparrow c c - - ___ Savannah Sparrow c c c - ___ Baird's Sparrow - s - - ___ Grasshopper Sparrow c c c - ___ Song Sparrow u u u s ___ White-throated Sparrow s - s - ___ White-crowned Sparrow s - s - ___ Harris' Sparrow s - s - ___ Lincoln's Sparrow s - s - ___ Dark-eyed Junco c - c s ___ McGown's Longspur - s - - ___ Lapland Longspur s - s s ___ Chestnut-collared Longspur s s - - ___ Snow Bunting s - s s
MEADOWLARKS, BLACKBIRDS, & ORIOLES S S F W ___ Bobolink f f - - ___ Red-winged Blackbird c c c - ___ Orchard Oriole f f f - ___ Northern Oriole c c c - ___ Western Meadowlark c c c - ___ Yellow-headed Blackbird s s s - ___ Brewer's Blackbird u u u s ___ Common Grackle c c c s ___ Brown-headed Cowbird f f - -
GROSBEAKS, FINCHES, & REDPOLLS S S F W ___ Common Redpoll s - s c ___ Pine Siskin s s - - ___ American Goldfinch c c c - ___ Evening Grosbeak _ s - -
WEAVER FINCHES S S F W ___House Sparrow u u u u
For more information contact:
                     Refuge Manager
                     Fort Union Trading Post NHS
                     RR 3, Box 71
                     Williston, ND 58801
This resource is based on the following source:
National Park Service.  No date.  Birds of Fort Union.  
     National Park Service.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
National Park Service.  No date.  Birds of Fort Union.  
     National Park Service.  Unpaginated.  Jamestown, ND: 
     Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govfunion.htm  
     (Version 22MAY98).

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