2020 Hagerman Bird Festival

2020 Bird Festival:  April 24-26, 2020

Located on the Pacific Flyway, Hagerman Valley’s riparian habitat along the river hosts a variety of neotropical migrants during the spring and summer months.  With warmer temperatures, year round open water, a laced network of sheltered ponds and marshes, and plenty of food in the nearby fields, it’s possible to see as many as 100 bird species during the 3-day Festival!  Exciting field trips include exploring the new Cassia Crossbill species in the South Hills and the Mountain Bluebird in the north country, Camas County.

Please wear “quiet clothing” [ie: non-rustling nylon or squeaky shoes], and NON-WHITE clothing is preferable keep from scaring the birds.

Festival net proceeds help fund the Foundation’s Hagerman Valley Bird Conservancy efforts, which include working to establish additional bird sanctuaries and sponsoring a variety of bird tours.

Please email HagermanBirdFestival@gmail.com if you are interested in getting involved with us “birds” here in the Pacific Hagerman Valley Flyway!


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.