Latin: Aquila chrysaetos
Photo: Golden Eagles. Photo: Cindy Goeddel.
If you are looking for desert-like habitats in the Great Plains, you will not be disappointed. The South Dakota and Nebraska ‘Badlands’ have arid, rocky terrain and extreme temperatures that commonly make up our vision of the American southwest. This ancient landscape was called ‘mako sica’ – literally ‘bad lands’ – by the indigenous Lakota people, members of the Ogalala Sioux Tribe. Today, parts of the Badlands National Park are managed in cooperation with the Ogalala Sioux, and visitors can learn more about their cultural heritage at the White River Visitor Center.
The Badlands are also home to some of the most important fossil sites in the country, the fossils and bones of sabre tooth cats, rhinoceroses, and marine reptiles have been found here, along with plants from the late Eocene and Oligocene epochs.