By Tess O’Sullivan, Program Manager for Science and Conservation

A group of us spent the morning with Ornithologist Jay Carlisle, Research Director for the Idaho Bird Observatory, to learn about the resident and migrating birds in the Pioneer Mountains. We started in the sagebrush and focused on distinguishing between the calls of the sage thrasher and Brewer’s sparrow. Then we explored birds along Iron Mine Creek, listening and watching for birds among the aspenChecking out blackpoll warblers and bog birch, learning the difference between the song of the yellow warbler and the song sparrow. We seemed to be pushing a moose up the drainage, but didn’t get to see more than its fresh tracks and scat in the road. We enjoyed a diversity of species, including migrants and breeders. The most common bird seemed to be the song sparrow. The most unusual sighting was of a blackpoll warbler which according to Jay may have been the 10th sighting ever documented in Idaho. These birds would typically be much further to the east. The blackpoll had a chickadee-like head and a sparrow-like body and we enjoyed a really long look at it next to a beaver pond. Here is our list of birds either heard or seen from the Fish Creek area, primarily Iron Mine.

sage thrasher
brewer’s sparrow
sandhill crane
vesper sparrow
Wilson’s snipe
American kestrel
cliff swallow
tree swallow
violet green swallow
black-billed magpie
redwinged blackbird
yellow warbler
yellow-rumped warbler
blackpoll warbler
spotted sandpiper
chipping sparrow
song sparrow
western tanager
black headed grosbeak
northern harrier
MacGillvray’s warbler
orange crowned warbler
warbling vireo
Cassin’s vireo
Lewis’s woodpecker
Hairy woodpecker
Northern flicker
Pileated woodpecker
American crow
American robin
Brown-headed cowbird
redbreasted nuthatch
Bullock’s oriole
golden ealge (pair)
dusky flycatcher
red naped sapsucker
cinnamon teal
least flytcatcher
house wren

I may have missed a few. If you were there and can think of any I missed, please add them in the comment page.