Osprey and Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center


Although it has not been successful, we have had an osprey trying to nest near Lake Metigoshe over the past couple years.  I had never heard of an osprey nesting in the Turtle Mountains, so I checked Robert Stewart’s Breeding Birds of North Dakota for information on historical abundance of ospreys in the state.  Stewart recorded few observations of nesting ospreys in the state, and most came from the Missouri River near Garrison Dam, and one observation of a pair near Homme Dam in Walsh County from the 1950’s.

I frequently check Stewart’s book. Published in 1975 it is, to my knowledge, the best source of information on breeding birds in the state.  Stewart was a widely known and respected wildlife researcher at the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center near Jamestown.  I suspect it is not widely known, but a few miles east of Jamestown, just south of the Bloom exit is one of the premier wildlife research centers in the nation.

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center has been working diligently to better understand “Natural North Dakota’ for fifty years now.  According to their website, the center was established on September 18, 1965 by what is now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct research on waterfowl production with emphasis on wetland ecology and species biology.  The center is now an arm of the U.S. Geological Survey.

The center’s mission is “to provide and disseminate scientific information needed to conserve and manage the Nation’s biological resources, with an emphasis on species and ecosystems of the Nation’s Interior.  Specifically, the center’s goals include the following: waterfowl and grassland birds, wetland ecology and classification, mammalian behavior and ecology, grassland ecosystems, and application of statistics and geographical information systems.”  Several researches are on staff at the center and in addition to their own research partner with several colleges and universities including UND, NDSU, Minot State University, as well as other state and local federal agencies.

Northern Prairie, as it is often known, will be celebrating their 50th anniversary Friday and Saturday August 21 and 22, and they are extending an invitation to the public to join in the celebration.  Friday’s activities include a formal event at the center and an open house on Saturday which includes a tour, demonstrations and displays, followed by an evening social.

Click on the link below for information about the 50th Anniversary celebration at Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center.



Chuck Lura

Natural North Dakota is supported by NDSU Central Grasslands Research Extension Center and Minot State University-Bottineau, and by the members of Prairie Public. Thanks to Sunny 101.9 in Bottineau for their recording services.

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