Near the beginning of The Long Winter the Ingalls family discover a strange marine bird. It’s nearly frozen and they nurse it back to life, but nothing they have to feed it seems to go down. They said the bird looked like the image in Pa’s Big Green Animal Book of the Great Auk, only a miniature version.
The South Dakota birders think it was probably an Ancient Murrelet or a less likely a Dovekie. Both have occasionally been found far inland, but they don’t live long because they eat tiny marine invertebrates that aren’t found in fresh water. The Great Auk has long been extinct, but you can look for an Ancient Murrelet or a Dovekie next time you go to the ocean or in a natural science museum.