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The Outdoor Campus is
in the southern part of Sioux Falls, about a half a mile southeast of the
mall. From I-229, take the Louise exit and go north until you get to 49th
street. Turn right until you get to Oxbow Avenue, and turn right
again. After about 2 blocks you'll see the entrance to Sertoma Park on
your left. A parking lot sits right in front of the Outdoor Campus.
Geographic Coordinates: 43°
30' 21'' N, 96° 45' 43'' W
The Outdoor Campus hosts a diverse array of
habitats, right in the heart of South Dakota's biggest city.
Established as an educational facility for outdoor activities, classes
taught include fishing, canoeing, hiking, and yes, bird watching. It
is found in the midst of Seratoma Park, an area which also includes the
Sertoma Butterfly House and a popular playground.
The aerial photograph below shows the different habitats
of the Outdoor Campus. Trails weave through maintained grasslands,
along the open water of a slough and its associated wetland vegetation, and
through woodlands. Despite the location in the heart of the city, this
variety of habitats attracts a large number of bird species.
Points of Note:
The primary trails through the Outdoor Campus are
shown on the aerial photo below (shown in red). Click on the
numbers on the image below for actual ground photos for those locations.
The trails are all easily accessible with no climbs or drops of elevation,
and are relatively short in distance. Immediately in back of the
Outdoor Campus building are sets of feeders which attract a variety of
Two large grassland areas can be found, and are labeled on the image
below. Trails go around and through each of the grassland areas.
The grassland loop on the right has many nest boxes setup, most of which are
inhabited by Tree Swallows
in the summer months. The grasslands can hold a variety of grassland
species such as Sedge Wrens,
and even offers views of
Ring-necked Pheasants right in the heart of Sioux Falls.
Much of the Outdoor Campus is a riparian area with wetland and
open water, created from an oxbow off of the Big Sioux River to the east.
Trails are found on both sides of the oxbow, winding along the edges of the
grassland, through the riparian woodlands, and along the wetlands of the
sloughs. The sloughs may contain a variety of waterfowl, occasionally
wading birds, and occasionally a few shorebirds during migration. The woodlands found
along the slough hold a variety of woodland species, and can be a truly
wonderful place to find warblers during the spring migration.
Birds of Note:
The diversity of habitat attracts a variety of species. Grassland areas
may hold Sedge Wrens,
Tree Swallows (on nesting boxes),
Pheasants, and other typical grassland species.
The feeders immediately behind the Outdoor Campus building
attract the usual array of feeder birds, including several types of woodpeckers
and Northern Flicker), a variety
of sparrows depending upon season (House,
and Dark-eyed Juncos), both
and Red-breasted Nuthatches
(seasonal), Northern Cardinals,
and occasionally other woodland species such as
The riparian woodlands around the sloughs may attract nearly any
woodland species found in southeastern South Dakota, and have even occasionally
hosted a Barred Owl, a true rarity
in South Dakota. Cooper's
Hawks commonly nest in these trees. Northern
Goshawks have also been found around the Outdoor Campus in the
winter. Scarlet Tanagers and
Indigo Buntings can sometimes
be found. A key attraction of these
woodlands, however, is the warblers which migrate through in the spring.
Some of the less common warblers that may sometimes be found here include the
Warbler, Hooded Warbler,
The sloughs and water features of the Outdoor Campus may attract
the typical waterfowl that summer in the region, and are especially good for
nesting Wood Ducks.
Kingfishers may be found almost anywhere along these water features, and
examining the pond from the small willows along the edges of the pond. Wading
birds such as Great Blue Herons,
Egrets, and Green Herons can
found here (especially during migration), while
Bitterns and Sora can occasionally be found
in the wetland vegetation. While not a prime spot for shorebirds, small
numbers can sometimes be found in the sloughs during migration.
Click on the photos or species names on the bottom of this page
for actual bird photos taken within the Outdoor Campus.
Other Birding Locations (sorted by distance):