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2024 SDOU Spring Meeting
May 31 - June 2

SDOU Spring meeting

Custer SD May 31-June 2, 2024

Located in the Southwestern corner of South Dakota surrounded by pine forests at an elevation of over 5200 ft., the mix of habitats and geopraphical location within the state make Custer a great place to bird. The Black Hills of South Dakota is on the very Eastern edge of many western species that can not be found anywhere else in the state.

All gaterings will be at the Custer County Annex Building*, 447 Crook St. Custer SD, in the Pine room. 

Friday evening registration/social will be topped off by a presentation by well known landscape photographer/author/and historian Paul Horstead, as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Custer expedition. His recreation of historical photos taken during the 1874 survey of the Black Hills by the US Calvery, show the history and the changes that have come to Western South Dakota in the past 150years.  

Saturday Planned field trips will head in all four directions. We will car pool to the best of our ability. Various leaders

NORTH: Heading to elevations exceeding 6000 ft. , and some of THE most spectacular granite/spruce-Ponderosa Pine forests in the country.  Breeding Swainson's Thrush, Northern Three-toed Woodpecker,Red-naped Sapsuker, (with luck) Drumming Ruffed Grouse. SOUTH DAKOTA STATE PARK ENTRY FEE REQUIRED FOR ALL VEHICLES.

SOUTH: Heading to the Whitney Preserve (SW of Hot Springs) owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy. The abundant spring water welling up from ancient black hills rock draws many species to this oasis hidden in the dry canyon country. Western Tanager, Plumbious Vireo, Western Wood Pewee.

EAST: Custer State Park. Where the prarie meets the pines. The prairies meet the Bur oak woodlands that mix with box elder green ash and pondrerosa pine. Grassland species and woodland edge species will be the focus. Western Tanager, Black-headed Grosbeak, Lazuli Bunting. SOUTH DAKOTA STATE PARK ENTRY FEE REQUIRED FOR ALL VEHICLES.

WEST: Hell canyon and Boles/Roby Canyon. The limestone canyons and catastrophic fire landscape will dominate this trip. Lewis Woodpecker, White-throated Swift, Virginia's Warbler, and a chance for McGillvary's Warbler and Broad-tailed Hummingbird.


Lodgeing/camping/VRBOs/Air B+B oppurtunities abound in the Custer area. There will NOT be a block of rooms set aside at any one location. Please make your own reservations. The Custer County Chamber of Commerce (605) 673-2244) can help if you are not able to locate what you need via the internet.

Breakfast/ Lunches : You will be on your own for these meals. There are five convience stores/gas stations, a Subway, Custer Deli, Lynn's Dakotamart (a fulll service grocery store with some "grab and go" options.), Wild Spruce natural foods, and at least two locations (Miner's Cup and Calmity Janes') with early morning coffee and grab and go breakfast and lunches.

Dinner/Banquete: Hillbilly BBQ will provide their locally famous BBQ Brisquit with sides of cowboy beans, corn on the cob and chopped veggie salad known as "Grandma's salad". Non meat option will be stuffed grilled portabella mushroom and the same sides. A selection of pies for dessert, provided by The Purple Pie Place.

Keynote speaker: Maggie Engler, life long birder and director of the Black Hills Raptor Center will bring some of her education birds for a chance to see these raptors very up close and personal. She will also bring us up to speed on the current state of raptor recovery in Western South Dakota, and the ongoing improvments at the center .

Make your plans, secure your lodgeing, complete your registration, and come join us in Custer! 


*The Custer County Annex building does not allow alcohol on the premisis.