Lacreek National Wildlife Refuge
Mountain-Prairie Region

Migration Update September 29, 2009

The cool fall weather has started to push waterfowl from the north to Lacreek National Wildlife Refuge. We just wrapped up our banding efforts for the year and banded a total of 159 ducks and 1 trumpeter swan. We banded 76 blue-winged teal, 76 green-winged teal, 5 mallards, and 2 northern pintails. The trumpeter swan we banded was captured on a cattle pond east of Philip and nicknamed Wilbur by a staff member. He wasn’t able to fly so we took him to Rapid City to be evaluated. He was given food and antibiotics and his test results came back good so after a week we brought Wilbur to Lacreek and released him on Pool 7. He appears to be doing good and getting stronger by the day!

We also had another success story in September when an injured bald eagle was released at Refuge Headquarters on September 8th. The injured bald eagle was found by a private landowner near Lacreek NWR. A staff member transported her to Wildlife Experiences, Inc. in Rapid City, SD for rehabilitation. She had been born and subsequently banded east of Lawrence, Kansas this year and had made her way north to South Dakota after fledging. It is quite common for newly fledged bald eagles to wander widely during their first years of life. The Black Hills Fox Channel in Rapid City did a short news story which aired that evening:

Increasing numbers of raptors, including northern harriers, red tailed, ferruginous, Swainson's, Coopers, and sharp-shinned hawks, bald eagles, kestrels, and prairie falcons have been spotted in the last few weeks. White-tailed deer are visible in the mornings and evenings seemingly everywhere you look.

Now is a good time to come to the refuge to check out the shorebirds. We are drawing down Pool 10 and Pool 9 so there are large mud flats exposed which is excellent habitat for shorebirds.

A waterfowl and shorebird count was conducted yesterday:

Trumpeter Swans – 3
Canada Geese – 1120
Mallards – 618
Gadwalls – 252
American Wigeon – 385
Green-winged Teal – 453
Blue-winged Teal – 130
Northern Shovelers – 20
Wood Ducks – 141
Ring-necked Ducks – 18
Ruddy Ducks – 1
Hooded Mergansers – 2
Waterfowl Total – 3143

Killdeer – 110
Lesser Yellowlegs – 20
Greater Yellowlegs – 205
Long-billed Dowitchers – 225
Shorebird Total – 560

Come out and visit and let us know what you see!
Check with Refuge headquarters at (605)685-6508 Monday through Friday from 7 AM to 3:30 PM MST for current road conditions. Enjoy your visit!

Thinking of making a trip to Lacreek NWR?  Check out the latest weather forecast for the Lacreek area at    

Migration Updates:

August 24, 2009
July 10, 2009
June 1, 2009
April 30, 2009
April 28, 2009
April 14, 2009
April 7, 2009
March 26, 2009
March 2, 2009
February 2, 2009
January 7, 2009
December 18, 2008
December 10, 2008
November 12, 2008
October 31, 2008
October 14, 2008
September 25, 2008
August 4, 2008

Last updated: November 2, 2012