Grasslands and Marshes as Birding Hotspots

Summer my favorite time to to check out birding hotspots that happen to be grasslands and marshes.

Rob Ripma

While many birders dread the end of the migration season, I’m always excited to start looking for breeding birds in grasslands and marshes during this time of year. Sure I’ll miss the warblers and other migrants but there is something exciting about finding nesting species. We’ve lost an incredible amount of our grasslands and marshes in this country and the species that thrive in these habitats have been disappearing as well. The bits and pieces of habitat that we have left are critical for the survival of species that specialize in them. It always amazes more how just a small bit of habitat can attract these specialist species.

My brother and I found this  juvenile Grasshopper Sparrow at a tiny grassland that was accidentally created when a neighborhood was started but never ended up being built.

My brother and I found this juvenile Grasshopper Sparrow at a tiny grassland that was accidentally created when a neighborhood was started but never ended up being built.

Another reason that I love this type of habitat is that I live in a very interesting area where we get a few species that would typically be considered species of the western US along with all of our more typical eastern species.

While many people would consider Yellow-headed Blackbirds to be more of a western species, we have a small nesting population in Indiana. Of course you can see thousands of this species by traveling to Great Plains and Prairie Pothole region.

While many people would consider Yellow-headed Blackbirds to be more of a western species, we have a small nesting population in Indiana. Of course you can see thousands of this species by traveling to Great Plains and Prairie Pothole region. Click here to see a range map.

Common Gallinules can be found nesting in marshes throughout Indiana and in many places around the eastern half of the country.

Common Gallinules can be found nesting in marshes throughout Indiana and in many places around the eastern half of the country.

Blue Grosbeaks are one of my favorite grassland species. They can be tough to find in my area but it's always exciting when I do!

Blue Grosbeaks are one of my favorite grassland species. They can be tough to find in my area but it’s always exciting when I do!

Are there any marshes or grasslands around your home that are fantastic birding hotspots and what are your favorite species that you can find there?

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