Intermountain Bird Observatory

Three young naturalists prepare to release male and female Sharp-Shinned Hawks.

 The Intermountain Bird Observatory (IBO) is an academic research and community outreach program of Boise State University, Department of Biological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences.  Our mission is, “Impacting human lives and significantly contributing to conservation through a unique combination of cooperative research focusing on migratory birds, education, discovery of the natural world, and community engagement.” and our vision is, “To be a self-sustaining, world-class center that promotes an ethic of conservation through research focusing on migratory birds, education, stewardship, and community outreach.

Our longest running and most visible endeavor is our fall migration project at Lucky Peak in the Boise Foothills, at which we combine monitoring, research, and public outreach while studying diurnal raptors, owls, and songbirds between mid-July and the end of October each year. 

An IBO researcher releases a raptor banded on Luck Peak near Boise, Idaho.  IBO has been banding raptors and songbirds on Lucky Peak since 1994.

In addition, for over a decade we have worked with many partners and collaborators, including Idaho Department of Fish and Game and numerous federal agencies (e.g., National Park Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), to complete research and/or monitoring projects throughout Idaho.  Some examples include: Northern Goshawk nesting in the South Hills, habitat relationships of shrub-steppe breeding birds across southern Idaho, songbird migration and stopover ecology at Camas National Wildlife Refuge, Burrowing Owl surveys in south-central Idaho, Flammulated Owl surveys across southern Idaho, 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, Golden Eagle nesting surveys throughout southern Idaho, Hummingbird banding near Idaho City, and point count surveys focused on the entire bird community throughout the state. 

Along with research, IBOs mission includes a strong emphasis on education and outreach.  Connecting people to nature and to birds is the key to a good future for avian populations and their habitats.

We at IBO have many reasons to be excited about participating in the Idaho Bird Conservation Partnership, primarily that conservation - of birds and the natural resources on which we all rely - is the main motivation that drives the work that we do.  Thus, anything we can do to help further the conservation cause is worthwhile.  And, why not do it in as coordinated a fashion as possible – with increased communication and collaboration among the many interested parties?  Since 2008, IBO’s Research Director, Jay Carlisle, has been involved with the Western Working Group of Partners in Flight – an umbrella group focused on collaborative efforts towards conservation-related monitoring and research.  Thus, it was a natural progression to want to work more closely with partners in Idaho to strengthen efforts closer to home. 

In addition, while our strengths at IBO revolve around research, monitoring, and education/outreach, we recognize that there are many other critical components to conservation, including habitat preservation and restoration, addressing direct threats, and effective management.  Therefore, joining in a partnership that boasts partners with expertise in all necessary areas will only increase the effectiveness of the work that we, and all other partners, do.

Visit our website here.