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!



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