The Intermountain Bird Observatory Research Inspired at Lucky Peak

The Beginning

The inception of the Intermountain Bird Observatory (IBO) began with Greg Kaltenecker in 1993 when he and his professor, Dr. Marc Bechard, discovered a concentration point for raptor migration near the Boise Ridge. Together, they began a long-term study of bird migration, and after partnering with Boise State University, IBO was born.

The project began primarily with Hawks, but has since evolved to include many other species, like Owls, Hummingbirds, Songbirds, etc. IBO prides themselves on their community engagement and provides many opportunities for people of all ages to take part in their research. Their collaboration with Boise State allows them to become a traveling classroom, bringing education to students all over the Valley. Teachers are welcome to schedule class visits to the Lucky Peak Research Station, where students can get an up-close view of birds in their natural habitat. The station is also open to the public during migration season.

IBO has pulled some strings with the State of Idaho and has been approved to allow overnight camping at Lucky Peak for research purposes. Groups, families, and schools are welcome to schedule a trip once the season opens in the fall.


Aside from their various research stations, IBO also makes classroom trips. One of their traveling education programs—Curlews in the Classroom—is a 45 minute presentation and Q&A session about Long-billed Curlews and their migration patterns.

One of the primary reasons the Curlews in the Classroom Program began was to bring education and awareness to the public—the Curlew population in Idaho is declining significantly, mostly due to habitat loss and hunting, despite Curlew being federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

The Changing Seasons

While many of the birds have now migrated south to seek warmer weather, IBO research is still in full swing. They spend most of the season compiling data, crunching numbers, and occasionally flying out on rescue missions. But as spring rolls around and birds return from their migration, IBO kicks into high gear. They begin their extensive raptor studies, owl monitoring, and banding programs. They hope to begin their Woodpecker monitoring project soon, which will take place in the Boise National Forest.

Learn more about their projects!

**Disclaimer: IDPR is not directly affiliated with IBO or their subsidiaries. While IDPR encourages education endeavors throughout the State of Idaho and beyond, we are not liable for any claims made of their behalf. Their data, research, and opinions are their own and do not reflect the IDPR Agency.

Read more about the fight to protect Curlews by clicking here.

Photo Credit Heidi Ware


Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation

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