Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Birds Counts in Idaho

Although I've been birding steadily for the last five years, I have yet to participate in a Christmas Bird Count (CBC).  This year will be my first opportunity and I'm super excited about it.  I will be attending the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge CBC on Saturday, December 19th.  There are some really great birders in Idaho and more specifically in the Southwestern Idaho Birders Association, a couple of which have been featured in my weekly Idaho Birder Profile segment.  I hope to learn a few things from them during this count and maybe see a new bird or two.

Lake Lowell and its surroundings make up the largest portion of the refuge.  It is a 9,000 acre man-made reservoir used to irrigate farms across the Treasure Valley.  It was built in 1906 to 1909.  It is only about 40 feet deep at its deepest point and is surround by tall cottonwoods, willows, and brush of all kinds.  Farm land and rolling sagebrush hills are at its borders.  The Snake River and the Owyhee Mountains aren't far away.  Deer Flat has become a site of global birding importance. 

Lake Lowell holds a lot of memories for me.  When I was a young boy we lived in a home in Nampa without air conditioning, so we spent several summer evenings swimming at the lake while eating a bucket of fried chicken.  Cub Scout days camps were spent along it shores and we fished from its docks and banks.  When I was a teenager, my dad took us out there regularly to waterski, at least until the algae got too thick in mid to late summer.  My in-laws live very near Lake Lowell now (my father-in-law Lynn is the official organizer of this year's CBC) and it is the site where my birding addiction began!  Even before I got into birdwatching I knew that Deer Flat was the place to see Bald Eagles.

Birders and wildlife enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels are invited, so please join me!

For a list of all CBCs in Idaho, check it out on  Come discover great winter birding in Idaho!

1 comment:

  1. You will enjoy the CBC's. I hit my first two last year and it was fun to meet with other birders and experience birds with others.