White Water Rafting Bird Tour

Who is handling this trip?  Idaho Guide Service, Inc. has been running whitewater adventure trips since 1974, and we were the first licensed outfitter on the Middle Snake River. Our experience, reputation, and quality are unmatched. We promise you an exciting and professional Snake River adventure.

The Hagerman section of the Snake River is located in the beautiful Hagerman Valley and our most popular rafting trip. The trip starts below Lower Salmon Falls Dam one mile North of the town of Hagerman, once known to the Native Peoples for it great Salmon fishing and hunting.  The Hagerman section is a CLASS 3 trip with plenty of whitewater action, wildlife, waterfowl, and beautiful geological formations. This stretch of the Snake has great fishing and plentiful natural springs that flow into the river from the Snake River Aquifer.

What should I wear?  Idaho Guide Service suggest that you wear comfortable, quick-drying clothing, soft-soled shoes or river sandals (not flip-flops), a hat, sunglasses with a fastener, and sunscreen. During cold  weather please do not wear cotton. Polypropylene layering works best. We will provide in extra cold weather: wetsuits, booties, and  splash jackets.  Our goal is to keep you comfortable.

What should I bring?  Idaho Guide service will provide all necessary equipment for your trip. We do recommend a reusable water bottle, waterproof camera or waterproof bag, and dry clothing for after the trip.  If you have any medicines that need to be brought along on a trip please let the office know in advance.  If wearing hearing aids please be advised we do ask that they are not taken on the river.


Sparrow Identification Class

Sparrows are the most famous of the “little brown birds” that send beginning birders back to the river to look at ducks, herons, and eagles. Most species of sparrows are pretty easy to identify, especially when they are singing and in breeding plumage. Admittedly, at other times of year and in other plumages, some of them are hard – but not impossible – to tell apart. There are 25 species in the New World Sparrows (Passerellidae) that occur in Idaho, and 21 of these are more than “casual” or “accidental.” Another 6 species from other families may be confused with sparrows. We will explore 6 different approaches to identifying these species and separating them from one another – plumage, song, habitat, abundance, seasonality, and taxonomy. This workshop also will be an opportunity to learn clues that other birders in the audience use to identify these species.

Toni Holthuijzen

Toni is a Senior Ecologist with Idaho Power Company and has conducted ecological research over the past 45 years. His interest and experience is in ornithology, plant population dynamics, and plant-animal interactions (seed dispersal).  He is a certified as a Senior Ecologist with the Ecological Society of America and a Certified Wildlife Biologist with The Wildlife Society.

In the late 1970s through early 1980s he worked on tropical and temperate animal seed dispersal ecology.  During the mid-1980s, he studied the behavior and ecology of prairie falcons in the Snake River Birds of Prey Area in southwestern Idaho. During the past 25 years, his work focused on plant and animal communities along the Snake River in Idaho. These studies encompass all major taxonomic groups of terrestrial wildlife vertebrates, especially distribution, population densities, and relationships between major taxonomic terrestrial vertebrates and habitat characteristics. Currently, he is conducting vegetation and wildlife monitoring on IPC’s mitigation properties in Hells Canyon.


Zeke Watkins

Zeke is an avid fly-fisherman and has been watching birds his entire life. He is never on the river without his Binoculars under his fly-vest. He started keeping keeping track of the birds he was identifying sixteen years ago. Since then he has traveled all over the western United States, Hawaii and Costa Rica in pursuit of birds. In that time he has amassed a life list of over 800 species of birds. He expects to cross the 1000 bird milestone in June when he travels to Italy. He leads bird-watching trips for the Nature Conservancy and the Audubon Society and his team are 3-time champions at the City of Rocks annual Big Day competition in South-Central Idaho. Follow his adventures on Instagram: @idahobirder

Jan Simpkin

Jan has loved birds since she was a little girl.  She studied biology in college and graduate school, focusing on ecology and the mating system of Mountain Bluebirds.

She teaches biology at the College of Southern Idaho, where she teaches EcologyEnvironmental Science, and Science, Literature, and the Environment.  Her students study questions about bird life on the CSI campus.

She has been a member of the Audubon Society for years and participates in Christmas Bird Counts, winter raptor surveys, and birding for fun.

Randy Smith

Randy has been a Biology Professor at the College of Southern Idaho since 2002. Before that he taught for 9 years at the College of Southern Nevada.

His interest in birdwatching was triggered by his wife after she took an ornithology class from Dr. Chuck Trost at Idaho State University. Further interest was developed on trips to Botswana and Costa Rica. Randy enjoys participating in  various local Audubon club bird counts throughout the year.

He looks forward to meeting more birders during the Hagerman Bird Festival.   Let’s Bird!

Barry Brown

“One half of my bluebird nesting boxes stolen or destroyed” was the complaint of a Twin Falls Idaho gentleman, Eugene Pyles, in his 2013 Letter to the Editor.   I didn’t know a thing about bluebird nesting boxes, but that someone would steal or destroy them made me angry.

I began assisting Eugene and over the next few months built enough boxes to renew Eugene’s trail and put up more.  Nancy joined me in creating our own Bluebird Trail, and by 2015, we had fledged 15 young.  In 2017, we monitored 59 boxes on 6 trails, and fledged 164 bluebirds!

If you are interested, we could use your help maintaining and monitoring these trails.