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When are you banding?

Check out this link to see scheduled banding dates. We typically run banding projects intermittently from May through October each year.

When is the best time to visit you?

Hummingbird banding happens every other week from May through August every summer. Check here to see scheduled banding dates.

Songbird banding runs from July 16th to October 15th at Lucky Peak. We begin every morning at sunrise and continue for 5 hours. See a table of sunrise times.
Songbird banding at our Boise River site happens intermittently from June to October. Check for scheduled banding events here.

Hawk watch and raptor trapping at Lucky Peak begin on August 25th and continue until October 31st, weather permitting. Hawk watch begins at 10am and trapping starts when the hawk flight begins in the late morning. Hawk activities end whenever the migration flight ends, usually between 5:00 pm and 6:30 pm.

Owl banding at Lucky Peak begins on the night of August 28th and continues until October 28th. Owl nets are open from sunset to sunrise.

Learn more about visiting the peak, including public field trips and how to schedule a group.

Learn more about our river site.

All activities are weather dependent!

We do not band in high winds, if it is very cold, or when it is raining or snowing. Check our Facebook Page for the latest updates, and click here to see a weather forecast for the peak.

How are you connected to Boise State University?

We are a non-profit academic research and community outreach program of Boise State University, Department of Biological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences.

What happened to the “Idaho” Bird Observatory?

We changed our name from “Idaho Bird Observatory” to “Intermountain Bird Observatory”. We’re still the same IBO that you love, but now we have a ‘bigger’ name. We decided to re-name ourselves to more accurately match our current scope, as well as give ourselves room to grow. We’ve expanded our outreach, partnerships, and research beyond the borders of Idaho; including curlew partnerships, woodpecker and songbird surveys, and goshawk work. We hope to continue this out-of-state work in the future.

The new name is also giving us a great chance to emphasize our long standing connection with Boise State as part of their university-wide re-branding effort. Read more details on this aspect in our Spring 2013 newsletter.

What support do you receive from Boise State University?

The university provides us with many areas of support including much-needed office space and equipment, the Director’s salary (not the Research Director or other biologists), administrative and development assistance, and other logistical support. While a university-based program, much of our annual budget originates from grants, research contracts, and donations. The Boise State University Foundation, Inc. acts as our non-profit sponsor to accept charitable donations from individuals, private foundations, and corporations.

How do I buy one of your T-shirts or hats?

We now sell shirts online! See what T-Shirt designs we have available.

We sell IBO Cooper’s Hawk hats at Lucky Peak during August – October.  You can also email us at to order a hat.

Is there more to IBO than the Lucky Peak project?

Yes! IBO is involved in bird conservation research and other projects year-round.
Learn more by visiting our Other Projects Page.

I found a banded bird. What do I do?

Record the band number, as well as where and when you found the bird. Report this information to the Bird Banding Laboratory at 1-800-327-BAND (2263) or You will receive a Certificate of Appreciation telling you where the bird was originally banded, when it was banded, and the age/sex (if known).

Other programs will place neck collars on large waterfowl, such as swans. If you can record the collar color and the letter/number combo, this is valuable information that should also be reported. Birds with colored leg bands should also be reported.

The Intermountain Bird Observatory will accept dead birds for use as study skins and for education purposes. Please email us first ( to determine if it is a species we can accept. Place the bird in a Ziploc bag (or a large garbage bag if a raptor) and drop it off to us. If it will be a couple days before you can drop the bird off, please put it in your freezer to preserve it.

I found a baby bird. What do I do?

Fledgling birds are very vulnerable to ground predators like cats. Please keep your pets indoors to protect the birds!
If the baby is very young (all pink skin, absolutely no feathers, eyes closed) and you can find its nest, you may attempt to return it to its nest. If this isn’t plausible contact a local rehab center (see the list of rehab centers farther down on this page). Do not attempt to raise the baby bird on your own. It takes years of training and a special license to correctly and legally care for wild animals.

For more information, read Cornell’s article “Orphaned” baby birds.

Not sure whether you have a fledgling or a nestling baby? Check out this helpful and humorous infographic from Bird and Moon comics.


I found a dead bird. What do I do?

First check to see if the bird is banded on either leg. If so, follow the instructions on reporting bands listed above.

If the circumstances surrounding the bird’s death seem suspicious (shooting, poisoning, etc), please contact your local Fish and Game office.

Possession of bird remains is regulated by the Migratory Bird Treaty act in order to protect against illegal trade and poaching of birds for feathers or parts. Please remember it is illegal to keep feathers or any part of most bird species unless you have the proper permits (game birds are an exception).

The Intermountain Bird Observatory has a permit to possess animal specimens and will accept dead birds. Please email us first ( to determine if it is a species we can accept. Place the bird in a Ziploc bag (or a large garbage bag if a raptor) and drop it off to us. If it will be a couple days before you can drop the bird off, please put it in your freezer to preserve it.

We may use dead birds to create study skins and specimens that will be used for scientific purposes or for education.

I found an injured or apparently ill bird. What do I do?

IBO does not do rehab work. Please contact a licensed rehabilitator with questions about injured birds. If your injured bird ends up not surviving, please contact us about using its body for education (see above).

If you have found an injured or apparently ill bird, you may call the following rehabilitators:

List of Rehabilitators in Idaho

Partial list of Idaho Rehabilitators: 

If you’re a rehabber and don’t see yourself on this list, let us know!

Boise area

  • Ruth Melichar Bird Center (Center is open April through August)
    4650 N. 36th St., Boise
  • Animals in Distress
    2201 W. Boise Avenue, Boise
  • Orchard Animal Clinic
    110 N. Orchard, Boise
  • Geneveve Tish
    Raptors and other large birds including eagles
  • Monte Tish
    Raptors and other large birds including eagles
    208-463-8819 (h)  208-334-8456(w)
  • Treasure Valley Raptor Rescue – Cathie Havlina
    Raptors and other large birds including eagles
    208-336-1218(h) 719-251-6776 (c)
  • West Treasure Valley: James McKinley (raptors) — 208-585-2203
  • East Treasure Valley: Jennifer Rockwell (raptors) — 208-571-3555


  • Conger Small Animal Clinic
    Birds, raptors, and migratory


  • Betty Duggan
    Raptors including eagles
    208-922-4619 (h)   208-724-6633 (c)


  • Snowden Wildlife Sanctuary – Linda A. DeEulis
    Raptors, migratory, no eagles


  • James O. McKinley
    Migratory, raptors, eagles
  • Lucy Nickerson
    Raptors and eagles

Saint Maries

  • Birds of Prey Northwest

Gooding/Twin Falls

  • Julie Randell (raptors)— 208-731-4267 or 208-423-4268

North Idaho

  • Birds of Prey North Idaho — 208-245-1367

Eastern Oregon

  • Blue Mt. Wildlife Rescue Oregon: 571-278-0215

I cannot reach a rehabilitator and the bird needs emergency first aid treatment

Try contacting:

  • Treasure Valley Veterinary Hospital
    2600 S. Meridian Rd., Meridian
  • Long Valley Vet Clinic – Janet Houlihan
    13712 Highway 55, McCall
  • Dr. Dale Smith
    New Meadows
    (Central Idaho Vet Clinic is closed but he still gives first aid to birds. His son, Mark, also treats injured birds. Call and arrange to bring the bird to him.)
  • Indian Creek Veterinary Hospital

A raptor is perceived to be aggressive, a nuisance, or potential threat:

Please contact:

  • Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game 334-3700


Idaho Bird Conservation Partnership

Birdwatching resources:
Idaho Birders Linked Electronically

Audubon Societies and other birdwatching organizations:
Golden Eagle Audubon
Southwest Idaho Birders Association
Coeur d’Alene Audubon Society
Palouse Audubon Society
Portneuf Valley Audubon Society
Prairie Falcon Audubon Society
Snake River Audubon Society

Bird by Bird