USGS - science for a changing world

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

  Home About NPWRC Our Science Staff Employment Contacts Common Questions About the Site

Bird Checklists of the United States

Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site

small state map showing location

Stanton, North Dakota


To the Mandan and Hidatsa people who first lived at Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site, birds were much more than a source of food. They were messengers from the Sirits, bringing omens for good and bad. They were a symbol of power and freedom. Their feathers were used as honor marks, in sacred bundles, and in ceremonies. Although birds were also used as food by the Mandan-Hidatsa people, their symbolic value was far more important.

The Bald Eagle, which was honored and almost worshiped, was trapped for its feathers. Only two tail feathers could be taken and the eagle was not harmed. These feathers were then awarded to a brave for a valiant deed done. The feather signified the power, freedom and great vision of the eagle. Similarly, crows were messengers who were sent to inform the people of what the future held for them.

Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site is a 1,756 acre park. Represented within the park boundaries are five types of bird habitat. They are: Knife River floodplains, prairies, cultivated fields, brushy areas and a rare piece of relatively undisturbed Missouri River bottomland.

Migrations are the most interesting times to "bird" Knife River, for then, in addition to the birds which breed here, one can find a wide variety of raptors, waterfowl, shorebirds, thrushes, warblers and other songbirds.

More work needs to be done before this bird checklist is complete. Birds which should be represented within the park but have, as yet, not been seen are categorized with an "s," which indicates they are suspected to be in the area. Visiting birders are asked to inform the park personnel if a bird of which they have knowledge is new to the list, confirmed, or if its status should be changed.


* - Species that are known to have nested in the park.
^ - Species suspected to have nested

Spring - March-May
Summer - June-August
Fall - September-November
Winter - December-February

c - Common Species, abundant in suitable habitats; habitat type is widespread.
f - Fairly common in most suitable habitats; habitat type is strongly represented.
u - Uncommon, present but not certain to be seen on each trip.
r - Rare, local occurrence within park, low numbers in area
o - Occasional, seen only a few times a season.
s - Suspected, not yet observed within the park, but should be present.


LOONS AND GREBES Sp S F W ___ Common Loon s - s - ___ Pied-billed Grebe s - s - ___ Eared Grebe s - s -
PELICANS AND CORMORANTS Sp S F W ___ American White Pelican s u s - ___ Double-crested Cormorant s u s -
HERONS AND IBISES Sp S F W ___ American Bittern s - - - ___ Great Blue Heron s u s -
WATERFOWL Sp S F W ___ Tundra Swan (Whistling Swan) s - s - ___ Greater White-fronted Goose s - u - ___ Snow Goose s - u - ___ Canada Goose c c c f ___ Wood Duck s u s - ___ Green-winged Teal^ s - s - ___ Mallard^ c c c - ___ 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 - ___ Ring-necked Duck s - s - ___ Greater Scaup s - s - ___ Lesser Scaup s - s - ___ Common Goldeneye s - s s ___ Bufflehead s - s - ___ Hooded Merganser s - s - ___ Common Merganser s - s u ___ Red-breasted Merganser s - - - ___ Ruddy Duck s - s -
VULTURES AND HAWKS Sp S F W ___ Turkey Vulture u u u - ___ Osprey s - s - ___ Bald Eagle s - s f ___ Northern Harrier* c c c - ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk s s s - ___ Cooper's Hawk s - s - ___ Northern Goshawk - - - s ___ Broad-winged Hawk s - s - ___ Swainson's Hawk^ u u u - ___ Red-tailed Hawk u u u - ___ Rough-legged Hawk - - u s ___ Golden Eagle - - s r ___ American Kestrel* c c c s ___ Merlin s - s s ___ Peregrine Falcon s - s - ___ Prairie Falcon s - s -
GALLINACEOUS BIRDS Sp 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 AND RAILS Sp S F W ___ American Coot s - s - ___ Sandhill Crane u - u -
PLOVERS AND TURNSTONES Sp S F W ___ Black-bellied Plover s - s - ___ American Golden Plover s - s - ___ Semipalmated Plover s - s - ___ Piping Plover^ s s s - ___ Killdeer* c c c -
SNIPES, SANDPIPERS, AND STILTS Sp S F W ___ American Avocet s s s - ___ Greater Yellowlegs s - s - ___ Lesser Yellowlegs s s s - ___ Solitary Sandpiper s - s - ___ Willet s s s - ___ Spotted Sandpiper^ c c - - ___ Upland Sandpiper^ u u - - ___ Sanderling s s s - ___ Semipalmated Sandpiper s s s - ___ Least Sandpiper s u s - ___ White-rumped Sandpiper s s - - ___ Baird's Sandpiper s s s - ___ Pectoral Sandpiper s s s - ___ Common Snipe s - s -
GULLS AND TERNS Sp S F W ___ Franklin's Gull s s s - ___ Bonaparte's Gull s - s - ___ Ring-billed Gull u u u - ___ California Gull s s s - ___ Herring Gull s - s s ___ Glaucous Gull - - - s ___ Common Tern^ s s - - ___ Forster's Tern s s - - ___ Least Tern^ s u - - ___ Black Tern s s - -
PIGEONS AND CUCKOOS Sp S F W ___ Rock Dove^ u u u - ___ Mourning Dove* c c c - ___ Black-billed Cuckoo* s c - -
OWLS AND GOATSUCKERS Sp S F W ___ Eastern Screech-Owl s s s s ___ Great Horned Owl c c c c ___ Snowy Owl - - - r ___ Burrowing Owl s s - - ___ Long-eared Owl s s s - ___ Short-eared Owl r r r r ___ Common Nighthawk^ - u - -
SWIFTS, HUMMINGBIRDS AND KINGFISHERS Sp S F W ___ Ruby-throated Hummingbird s - s - ___ Belted Kingfisher^ u u u -
WOODPECKERS Sp S F W ___ Red-headed Woodpecker c c c - ___ Yellow-bellied Sapsucker u - u - ___ Downy Woodpecker c c c c ___ Hairy Woodpecker c c c c
FLYCATCHERS Sp S F W ___ Western Wood-Pewee s s s - ___ Eastern Wood-Pewee s s s - ___ Willow Flycatcher s s - - ___ Least Flycatcher^ f f s - ___ Say's Phoebe* r r r - ___ Great Crested Flycatcher u u - - ___ Western Kingbird^ c c c - ___ Eastern Kingbird* c c c -
LARKS AND SWALLOWS Sp S F W ___ Horned Lark u u s f ___ Purple Martin s - s - ___ Tree Swallow u u u - ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow^ f f f - ___ Bank Swallow^ c c c - ___ Cliff Swallow^ s r s - ___ Barn Swallow* f f f -
JAYS, CROWS AND MAGPIES Sp S F W ___ Blue Jay* c c c c ___ Black-billed Magpie u u u u ___ American Crow c c c s
CHICKADEES, NUTHATCHES AND CREEPERS Sp S F W ___ Black-capped Chickadee^ f f c c ___ Red-breasted Nuthatch s - s - ___ White-breasted Nuthatch c c c c ___ Brown Creeper s - s -
WRENS Sp S F W ___ House Wren* c c c - ___ Sedge Wren^ u u s - ___ Marsh Wren s - s -
MOCKINGBIRDS, THRASHERS AND THRUSHES Sp S F W ___ Eastern Bluebird s s s - ___ Mountain Bluebird r - s - ___ Townsend's Solitaire - - - s ___ Veery u u u - ___ Gray-cheeked Thrush f - u - ___ Swainson's Thrush c - u - ___ Hermit Thrush s - s - ___ American Robin* c c c - ___ Gray Catbird* f f f - ___ Brown Thrasher* c c c -
KINGLETS, PIPITS AND WAXWINGS Sp S F W ___ Golden-crowned Kinglet s - s - ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet f - s - ___ American Pipit s - s - ___ Sprague's Pipit u u u - ___ Bohemian Waxwing s - - - ___ Cedar Waxwing s f s -
SHRIKES AND STARLINGS Sp S F W ___ Northern Shrike - - s u ___ Loggerhead Shrike s s s - ___ European Starling^ f f f f
VIREOS Sp S F W ___ Solitary Vireo u - u - ___ Yellow-throated Vireo s o - - ___ Warbling Vireo^ u u - - ___ Philadelphia Vireo s - s - ___ Red-eyed Vireo^ c c c -
WOOD WARBLERS Sp S F W ___ Tennessee Warbler c - u - ___ Orange-crowned Warbler c - c - ___ Nashville Warbler s - s - ___ Yellow Warbler* c c c - ___ Chestnut-sided Warbler s - s - ___ Magnolia Warbler s - s - ___ Cape May Warbler s - s - ___ Black-throated Blue Warbler s - s - ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler c - c - ___ Black-throated Green Warbler s - s - ___ Blackburnian Warbler s - s - ___ Palm Warbler s - s - ___ Bay-breasted Warbler s - s - ___ Blackpoll Warbler c - c - ___ Black-and-white Warbler^ f s f - ___ American Redstart* c c c - ___ Ovenbird^ c u f - ___ Northern Waterthrush s - s - ___ Connecticut Warbler s - s - ___ Mourning Warbler s - s - ___ Common Yellowthroat* c c s - ___ Wilson's Warbler u - s - ___ Canada Warbler s - s - ___ Yellow-breasted Chat* f f f -
TANAGERS Sp S F W ___ Scarlet Tanager s s - -
GROSBEAKS, BUNTINGS, FINCHES AND TOWHEES Sp S F W ___ Rose-breasted Grosbeak s s s - ___ Black-headed Grosbeak* c c c - ___ Lazuli Bunting^ c c u - ___ Rufous-sided Towhee^ c c c - ___ Common Redpoll s - s c ___ Hoary Redpoll s - - s ___ Pine Siskin s s - s ___ American Goldfinch c c c s
WEAVER FINCHES Sp S F W ___ House Sparrow* f f f f
SPARROWS, JUNCOS AND LONGSPURS Sp S F W ___ American Tree Sparrow c - c s ___ Chipping Sparrow c - c - ___ Clay-colored Sparrow* c c c - ___ Field Sparrow^ f f f - ___ Vesper Sparrow u u u - ___ Lark Sparrow* c c - - ___ Lark Bunting u u u - ___ Savannah Sparrow c c c - ___ Baird's Sparrow - s - - ___ Grasshopper Sparrow^ c c c - ___ Fox Sparrow s - s - ___ Song Sparrow^ u u u s ___ Lincoln's Sparrow c - c - ___ Swamp Sparrow s - - - ___ White-throated Sparrow c - c - ___ White-crowned Sparrow c - c - ___ Harris' Sparrow c - c s ___ Dark-eyed Junco c - c s ___ Lapland Longspur s - s s ___ Chestnut-collared Longspur s s - - ___ Snow Bunting - - s s
MEADOWLARKS, BLACKBIRDS AND ORIOLES Sp S F W ___ Bobolink^ f f - - ___ Red-winged Blackbird* c c c - ___ Western Meadowlark* c c c s ___ Yellow-headed Blackbird s s s - ___ Rusty Blackbird s - s s ___ Brewer's Blackbird u u u s ___ Common Grackle^ c c c s ___ Brown-headed Cowbird^ f f - - ___ Orchard Oriole^ f f f - ___ Northern Oriole* c c c - ___ Red Crossbill r r r -

This bird list was prepared through the volunteer efforts of the Bismarck-Mandan Bird Club and Mr. Daniel Svingen.

Published by the Theodore Roosevelt Nature and History Association in cooperation with the National Park Service; United States Department of the Interior.

For additional information contact:

                 Area Manager
                 Knife River Indian Villages NHS
                 P.O. Box 9
                 Stanton, North Dakota 58571
                 Telephone: (701) 745-3300
This resource is based on the following source:
Bismarck-Mandan Bird Club, D. Svingen.  1993.  Birds of Knife River Indian Villages 
     National Historic Site, Stanton, North Dakota.  Theodore Roosevelt Nature and 
     History Association in cooperation with the National Park Service.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
Bismarck-Mandan Bird Club, D. Svingen.  1993.  Birds of Knife River Indian 
     Villages National Historic Site, Stanton, North Dakota.  Theodore 
     Roosevelt Nature and History Association in cooperation with the 
     National Park Service.  Unpaginated.  Jamestown, ND: Northern 
     Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govknifervr.htm  
     (Version 22MAY98).

Return to Bird Checklists of North Dakota
Return to Bird Checklists of the United States

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo USA.gov logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
URL: http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/birds/chekbird/r6/knifervr.htm
Page Contact Information: Webmaster
Page Last Modified: Friday, 01-Feb-2013 19:00:11 EST
Menlo Park, CA [caww54]