Standley Lake Regional Park Wildlife
You can see an amazing variety of wild animals at Standley Lake Regional Park in a relatively small area. This is because the lake is an artificial reservoir created in the middle of the short grass prairie. As a result, there is a wonderful contrast between prairie, lake and wetland ecosystems.
At the lake, bird watchers can observe many water birds. The year 2001 marked the first time in recent years that great blue herons were known to nest by the lake. Other water birds include white pelicans, western grebes, cormorants, gulls, Canadian geese and mallard ducks. Another lake dweller is the beaver.
One of the park's most famous residents uses both the lake and the prairie around it. For several years, Standley Lake has been home to a pair of nesting bald eagles. During the summer, the bald eagles can fish in the lake. During the winter, when the lake freezes over, the bald eagles can steal prairie dogs caught by other birds of prey. Some of the other birds of prey, or raptors, seen at the park include Swainson's hawks, prairie falcons and red-tailed hawks. There are also nesting great horned owls, which are birds of prey of the night.
In the 2,000 acres of open space around the lake, one of the most obvious animals is the prairie dog. Prairie dog towns provide food and shelter for more than 100 other species of animals. Many animals in the park, including the bald eagles, coyotes, red foxes and bull snakes, eat prairie dogs. Burrowing owls and rabbits live in prairie dog burrows.
Other mammals seen in the park include mule deer and rock squirrels.