To aid in conservation efforts and to enhance appreciation for Idaho’s wildlife, the Nongame Division of Idaho Fish and Game created the Idaho Birding Trail. The purpose of the trail is to help preserve threatened, endangered, and “at risk” species by promoting education, viewing, and photography of Idaho’s fish and wildlife habitats. Idaho’s endangered and threatened species include the Whooping Crane, the Bald Eagle, and the Peregrine Falcon. The Idaho Birding trail consists of viewing sites along a 2,000 mile stretch divided into four routes. Twenty-two of these sites are designated as “blue ribbon” or “best of the best” bird watching locations.
The North route has 23 sites starting at the Canadian border (Pend Oreille) and goes along the Washington Border down to the Rapid River Fish Hatchery near the Payette National Forest. The seven Blue Ribbon areas on the North route sites are around Coeur d’Alene, Creston (at the Canadian border), Bonners Ferry, and Sandpoint.
The Southwest Route has 40 sites, including our own Boise River Site, which runs 20 miles along the greenbelt from Discovery Park to Eagle Island Park. Highlights of the Boise River Site include raptors, shorebirds, songbirds, upland birds, waterbirds, and waterfowl. The Southwest Route starts at Brundage Ski Area and moves down the Oregon border to Blue Creek on the Nevada border. The Blue Ribbon areas on the Southwest route are around Montpelier, Bruneau, Hagerman, McCall, and Kuna.
The Southeast Route has 12 sites starting at City of Rocks National Reserve on the Utah border and moving up to Henry’s Lake near Yellowstone National Park. The Blue Ribbon areas on the Southeast trail are around Hamer, Harriman, Roberts, Rupert, Mud Lake, and Springfield.
The East Central Route has 30 sites starting at Galena Pass on the east side of Boise National Forest and follows the Montana border to Lost Trail Pass in the Bitterroot National Forest. The Blue Ribbon areas on the East Central route are around Stanley, Salmon, and Challis.
For more details on the routes or for a list of bird species that can be found in Idaho, visit the Idaho Birding Trail website HERE.