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.

Karl Ruprecht

Karl began birding with his family at a very young age.  He participated in the inaugural Twin Falls Christmas Bird Count at age 6, approximately 35 years ago, and has not missed this CBC since.

He began learning birding-by-ear as a youngster from his father, studied ornithology under Dr. Charles Trost at Idaho State University in the nineties, and later began intense self-study in order to participate in local Breeding Bird Surveys.

Ruprecht now completes two local breeding bird surveys annually,  organizes the South Hills Important Bird Area census, collects Sage Grouse lek data for the Idaho department of Fish and Game, and completes four Christmas Bird Counts each year.  Karl especially loves exploring, photographing, backpacking, and birding southern Idaho’s high desert.

He is married to his wife Jennifer, has two children, and works in Twin Falls as a physical therapist.

Hilary Turner

What got Hilary Turner into birding?

My dad took me to Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge (near Great Falls, Montana) in May when I was about 11 years old. I saw the vast diversity in shapes and sizes of the birds, all their bright colors and beautiful plumages, and I saw my dad calling each one by name. I wanted that knowledge for myself. I particularly remember the beauty of Black-necked Stilts and American Avocets. I couldn’t believe such creatures even existed! Ever since then, I’ve been a bird nut! I went on to get a degree in wildlife biology from the University of Montana and have now pursued birds in my career, as well as in my hobbies.  

Southeast Idaho has some very interesting habitat and I have loved living in this region for the past two years due to the excellent birding. My favorite spots to bird in southeast Idaho are Market Lake Wildlife Management Area and Camas National Wildlife Refuge for migrant songbirds in the spring and fall. These spots are great for finding rarities during migration!  In fall of 2017, I located a Great Crested Flycatcher at Camas National Wildlife Refuge, which was the first state record for that species in Idaho. Another of my favorite spots to bird is the Bureau of Land Management-operated Cress Creek Nature Trail, which consists of juniper foothills where you can find Juniper Titmouse year round and in the summer, Black-throated Gray-warblers, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and Gray Flycatchers.

Hilary Turner is a 5th generation Montanan who now resides in Idaho Falls. She is a birder and naturalist who was educated at the University of Montana, receiving a BS in Wildlife Biology in 2016. She works as a road ecology wildlife technician for Idaho Department of Fish and Game. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the spectacular sagebrush steppe and stunning marshes of eastern Idaho.

Since moving to Idaho, Hilary has fallen in love with the sagebrush. In her presentation, Hilary hopes to impart the biological and aesthetic importance of sagebrush steppe habitat. She will discuss sagebrush obligates – the several birds and other species that depend on sagebrush. And she will explore the habitat and landscapes that these unique creatures live in.

Please come enjoy a visual adventure through the sagebrush sea of southern Idaho.