The Intermountain Bird Observatory (IBO) is an academic research and community outreach program of Boise State University. In 1993, graduate students in Boise State’s Raptor Biology program discovered that the Boise Ridge, just a few miles from downtown Boise, supports one of the largest known autumn raptor migrations in the western USA. Because of this high concentration, we began a long-term project at Lucky Peak, the southernmost peak on the ridge. Here, we count the number of migrating raptors each fall and gain reliable population trend information on western species. We have also established a long term raptor banding project in order to identify migration routes, wintering areas, breeding areas, and mortality factors.
During the first few years of the study, IBO staff, graduate students, and visiting birders began to notice remarkable concentrations of songbirds and owls in addition to the diurnal raptors. So, in 1997 we initiated a long-term songbird research and monitoring project that consists of mist netting and banding. Then, in 1999 we began a standardized forest owl monitoring and banding project that targets Northern Saw-whet and Flammulated Owls. In conjunction with these monitoring efforts, we developed research, education, and volunteer involvement programs centered around this remarkable natural phenomenon. We also give high priority to the promotion of public wildlife viewing, environmental education, and community volunteer programs. Check out our Visit Lucky Peak page to learn when to visit or how to schedule a group field trip.
Starting in 1999 IBO expanded their efforts to include other projects throughout the state.
In the South Hills, south of Twin Falls, we got involved in a long-term study of Northern Goshawks on lands owned by the Sawtooth National Forest. This study identified breeding territories through nest searching and monitoring in addition to banding over 150 adults and nestlings from 1999-2004; we resumed this study in 2010.
From 2002-2006 we surveyed shrubsteppe birds and habitat throughout all major shrubsteppe regions of Idaho. Our goal was to survey a representative sample of shrubsteppe habitats and birds across southern Idaho in order to describe the distribution and habitat associations of important shrubsteppe bird species in the state.
Around 2005 we began to expand our research and monitoring program even more to include other projects throughout the state. Some of our other research and monitoring projects have included Burrowing Owl surveys in south-central Idaho, Flammulated Owl surveys across southern Idaho, songbird migration banding at Camas National Wildlife Refuge, a White-faced Ibis habitat use study near Mud Lake and Market Lake Wildlife Management Areas, Long-billed Curlew abundance and productivity surveys near Middleton and Emmett, Golden Eagle nesting surveys throughout southern Idaho, Hummingbird Banding near Idaho City, and landbird point counts throughout the state.
The IBO is funded largely through donations from individuals and grants from private foundations and corporations. We maintain non-profit 501(c)(3) status through our fiscal sponsor, the Boise State University Foundation.