Richardson's ground squirrels (flickertails); photo © Anne Elliott on Flickr (all rights reserved; used by permission)
Official State March of North Dakota
James D. Ployhar was commissioned by the North Dakota Band Directors Association to compose a march appropriate for official state functions. He wrote "Spirit of the Land," which was designated the official North Dakota State March in 1975. But this title was nearly identical to an existing march, so the title was changed to "Flickertail March" (the change was approved by Legislative Assembly in 1989). All State Songs
"The Flickertail State" was proposed as the official nickname for North Dakota in 1953, referring to the abundant Richardson ground squirrels in the state (known for a characteristic flick or jerk of their tails while running or just before entering their burrows).