The Boise Ridge is a North-South tending series of peaks located in the Boise Mountains in southwest Idaho, stretching from Horseshoe Bend to Mountain Home. This makes up the northern geographic boundary of the Snake River Plain. Boise Ridge contains exceptional representations of shrub-steppe, mountain shrub, and mixed conifer habitats that are thought to be the primary feature looked for by migrating birds. The ridge is the southern most extension of the central Idaho mountains and makes up the northern geographic boundary of the Snake River Plains. Updrafts from the plains create ideal wind conditions for migrating raptors. Many vegetation types are present on the Boise Ridge, including shrub-steppe dominated by sagebrush, bitterbrush, native bunchgrasses, and exotic annual grasses on lower slopes; mountain shrub communities dominated by chokecherry and buck brush on upper slopes; mixed conifer containing Ponderosa pine and Doug Fir on upper and north facing slopes; and cottonwood, willow, and birch communities in riparian areas. The diverse plant communities present here provide ideal forage, cover, and roosting habitat for migrating songbirds and raptors.

Ornithological Summary

The Boise Ridge supports one of the largest known concentrations of migrating raptors in the western U.S., as well as exceptional concentrations and diversity of both raptors and songbirds during fall migration. During fall migration, Idaho Bird Observatory conducts raptor banding at Boise Peak, and raptor banding, raptor migration counts, and passerine monitoring on Lucky Peak. Twenty-five species of special concern in Idaho have been observed at this site.

Conservation Issues

The major conservation problems and threats to important bird habitats are the loss/destruction of habitats from fire, timber harvest, or urban development. Grazing, exotic plant species, and recreational use are other factors that threaten this area. Long-term avian monitoring and research is on-going at this site, and two roads have have been closed to help with the monitoring work.

Habitat

Boise Ridge contains exceptional representations of shrub-steppe, mountain shrub, and mixed conifer habitats that are thought to be the primary feature looked for by migrating birds. The ridge is the southern most extension of the central Idaho mountains and makes up the northern geographic boundary of the Snake River Plains. Updrafts from the plains create ideal wind conditions for migrating raptors. Many vegetation types are present on the Boise Ridge, including shrub-steppe dominated by sagebrush, bitterbrush, native bunchgrasses, and exotic annual grasses on lower slopes; mountain shrub communities dominated by chokecherry and buck brush on upper slopes? mixed conifer containing Ponderosa pine and Doug Fir on upper and north facing slopes; cottonwood, willow, and birch communities in riparian areas.

Stay abreast of Audubon

Our email newsletter shares the latest programs and initiatives.