Big Birding Afternoon: Pioneer Reservoir – Clover Creek Loop

Migration is happening in Idaho , plan on taking advantage of migratory birds that funnel through the state, resting and refueling on wetlands, forests and canyons.  And identify our summer arrivals to our
sage-brush steppe habitat. Join us on a short road trip through various habitats providing a “huge” variety of birds. This is an auto tour on paved and well maintained gravel roads. Pioneer Reservoir is roughly 18 miles from Hagerman and we will return on the Clover Creek road. Springtime may bring Prairie and Peregrine Falcons and American Kestrel along with nesting Burrowing Owls. Passerines include Savannah, Lark, Vesper, and Brewer’s Sparrows. The reservoir is good for waterfowl including Northern Pintail, Eared, Western, and Clark’s Grebes, Mallard, and scaup. Shorebirds could also be present.  Please bring binoculars and spotting scope if you have one. Please arrive a little early to assist in carpooling needs.

Sagebrush Sea: the birds of America’s unique shrubland

The Big not-so Empty or the Sagebrush Sea

What is field biology? How do scientists collect data on birds? Why should I care about the Sagebrush Sea? How is the sagebrush in Idaho doing? If you have ever asked yourself these questions, you may be interested in the Hagerman Bird Festival keynote speech about science in the sage and issues facing Idaho’s sagebrush sea. Locals often call the Sagebrush Sea “The Big Empty.”

Hilary spent three months working in the sagebrush on the Jonah Natural Gas Field of western Wyoming and lives in Idaho Falls where she is surrounded by sagebrush steppe. As a nest searcher who fell in love with the sagebrush ecosystem, she can’t wait to share the wonders of the “big empty” with you. During her presentation, she will introduce us to the methods used to collect scientific data on breeding birds and give us a visual tour of the Sagebrush Sea and its many spectacles. Be prepared for lots of photos of sagebrush obligate species and their stunning habitat! Hilary will also discuss the sagebrush ecosystems in southern Idaho and some of the issues those systems are facing.

Hilary Turner grew up in Helena, MT with an intense passion for natural history, especially birds. She graduated with a BS in Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana in 2016. Hilary has a variety of work experience in field biology. She did a stint in Louisiana at a National Wildlife Refuge and surveyed for Flammulated Owls on the Helena National Forest in central Montana. During her undergraduate career, she worked as a nest searcher and video analyst in Dr. Tom Martin’s lab. Immediately upon graduating, she became employed by the Rim Rick Wind Energy Facility as a raptor monitor. She worked at a Golden Eagle migration survey in Montana during the Fall of 2017. She now works as for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game as the Road Ecology Wildlife Technician. In her spare time, she can be found enjoying the sagebrush sea of southeast Idaho with her boyfriend and their dog. Please join us on May 18 th to hear more about the Sagebrush Sea!


Leslie Schwindt

Leslie has been working with animals for over 22 years, specializing in wildlife for 6. She holds permits through the Fish & Game and Federal Permits through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife. She rehabilitates and works with an average of 120 birds per year. She is a passionate educator and advocate for birds of prey in southeastern Idaho and surrounding regions.

Understanding the Struggles of Barn Owls and How to Utilize them to Help Manage Rodents in Idaho

New faculty portraits College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

By Jason Thomas and Leslie Schwindt

Barn Owls are a native bird to Idaho that have had to deal with a lot of problems. Learn about the struggles of barn owls in Idaho by meeting Junior, a rehabilitated barn owl.  Learn how farmers, landowners and everyday citizens can help mitigate some of these problems.  By supporting barn owls they may be able to help reduce rodent populations in Idaho creating a win for the environment, farmers and barn owls.

Though these birds are important hunters of rodents, their nesting options are limited in Idaho. By building and deploying boxes, research suggests that barn owls can be attracted and utilized to help control voles. Learn more about these amazing  birds and how they might be utilized more in agricultural settings that benefits both farmers and birds.

Jason Thomas

New faculty portraits College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

Born and raised in Malad, Idaho, Jason Thomas is a passionate instructional designer, educator and scientist who enjoys the thrill of helping improve people’s lives by teaching them about insects, pest management and wildlife. He has worked at Texas A&M and Purdue University to develop multiple educational programs including the Insect Hunter YouTube channel. His master’s is in entomology with an emphasis in outreach education.

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.