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Birding Hotspots - Magic Valley


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Twin Falls/Magic Valley Birding Hotspots map

Welcome to the Magic Valley! Twin Falls and the surrounding area boast many beautiful natural areas teeming with interesting bird life. Whether you have an afternoon or several days, this guide can help you focus in on the most interesting birding hotspots. Area specialties include Rock Wren, Greater Sage Grouse, Chukar Partridge, American Dipper, Lewis Woodpecker, Say’s Phoebe, Bushtit, Juniper Titmouse, Flammulated Owl, Ferruginous Hawk, Northern Goshawk, Prairie Falcon, and Golden Eagle. Happy birding!

Centennial Waterfront Park

Centennial Waterfront Park Perrine Bridge from Centennial Waterfront Park

Photos Copyright © 2010
John & Melissa Kopsky

A county park on the north edge of the City of Twin Falls, below the Perrine Bridge along the Snake River. Also, continue west past the sewage treatment plant to Auger Falls Park, a natural area opened in 2010.

Habitat:

Willow riparian areas, towering basalt cliffs, slow moving open water, sagebrush/grassland/shrub areas.

Birds:

American White Pelican, Greatblue Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Double-crested Cormorant, Lazuli Bunting, Northern Oriole, Western Tanager, Spotted Towhee, White-throated Swift, Golden Eagle, White-Crowned Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Canyon Wren, Red-tailed Hawk, Bald Eagle, Townsend's Solitaire.

Directions:

From the Perrine Bridge headed south, turn right onto Fillmore at the first stoplight immediately after the bridge, after ¼ mile turn right onto Canyon Springs Road. Look for the sign to Centennial Park near the bottom of the canyon.

Dierke's Lake / Shoshone Falls Park

Shoshone Falls
Dierke's Lake

Photos Copyright © 2010
John & Melissa Kopsky

A county park six miles from the Perrine Bridge.

Habitat:

Large deciduous trees in park areas, basalt/rhyolite cliffs, cattail/reed marches, open water, sagebrush/grassland.

Birds:

Rock, Marsh and Canyon Wren, Sora and Virginia Rail, Golden Eagle, American dipper (near Shoshone Falls), Northern Oriole, Western Tanager, Brown Creeper, Violet-green and Cliff Swallows.

Directions:

From the Perrine Bridge, head south on Blue Lakes Boulevard one mile, turn left onto Falls Avenue, turn left after three miles at the sign for Shoshone Falls Park. After descending into the canyon stay left for Shoshone Falls Park or turn right at the sign for Derke's Lake park. A small admission fee is charged during summer.

CSI Campus / Breckenridge Wetlands

The College of Southern Idaho is in the middle of Twin Falls.

Habitat:

Landscaped college campus with mature trees and a large semi-wild wetland.

Birds:

Song Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Marsh Wren, Red-winged and Yellow-headed Blackbird, Common Snipe, Great-honed Owl, Red-tailed Hawk, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Northern Flicker.

Directions:

From the Perrine Bridge head south on Blue Lakes Boulevard, after one mile turn right onto North College Road, in ½ mile the College of Southern Idaho Campus is on the left with ample parking and the Breckinridge Wetland on the right.

Hagerman Wildlife Management Area

Hagerman Wildlife Management Area

Photo Copyright © 2010
John & Melissa Kopsky

A wonderful habitat!

Habitat:

Large expanses of marsh, wetland, and open water, riparian area, mixed scrub/conifer/deciduous habitat.

Birds:

Over 100,000 ducks winter here including the Greater Scaup, Northern Pintail, and Wood duck. Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Prairie Falcon, Accipiters, Barn and Great-horned Owl, Virginia and Sora Rail, Trumpeter and Tundra Swan, Black-crowned Night Heron, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Warbling and Plumbeous Vireo, Brown Creeper, American Pipit, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow-breasted Chat and many others. The Hagerman Christmas Bird Count often has the high number for species in Idaho and also has potential for many rarities.

Directions:

Head north from the Perrine Bridge on US 93, exiting onto I-84 heading west, at exit 155 (just past Wendell) take exit 155 onto the Hagerman Highway (296000 S) and head west towards Hagerman. In about nine miles, turn left onto US 30, turn left between mileposts 184 and 183 onto State Fish Hatchery Road at which point you will be on the refuge.

Rock Creek Park

Rock Creek Park

Photo Copyright © 2010
John & Melissa Kopsky

A county park and greenbelt.

Habitat:

Small basalt canyon, Russian Olive creek side/riparian habitat.

Birds:

Sharp-shinned and Cooper's Hawk, Merlin, Cedar and Bohemian Waxwings, House, Rock, and Canyon Wren, Yellow and Yellowrumped warblers, Common Snipe, Black-capped and Mountain Chickadee, Great-horned, Western Screech, and Saw-whet Owls, American Goldfinch, Pine Sisken, numerous American Robins and the beautiful Blackbilled Magpie.

Directions:

From the Perrine Bridge head south on Blue Lakes Boulevard, at about 2.5 miles turn right onto Addison Avenue (Highway 30 & 93), in about two miles (after crossing Rock Creek Canyon) watch closely for the sign to Rock Creek Park on the right.

Murtaugh Lake

A small reservoir.

Habitat:

Marsh and grassy park area.

Birds:

Marsh Wren, Virginia Rail, Common Snipe, American Kestrel, White-faced Ibis, Caspian, Forester's and Black Tern, American White Pelican, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Common Yellow-throat, Violet-green, Tree, Rough-winged and Barn Swallows, and numerous ducks in the winter.

Directions:

From the Perrine Bridge head south for 4.5 miles on Blue Lakes Boulevard, turn left on 3700 North (also called Orchard and Sugar Factory Road), pass through the town of Kimberly at 5 miles. At Hansen (3 more miles) 3700 North becomes US 30. Continue 8 miles to the Sportsman's Access sign and turn right.

Thousand Springs State Park

Thousand Springs State Park

Photo Copyright © 2010
John & Melissa Kopsky

A state park, formerly owned by the Nature Conservancy and known as the Ritter Island / Thousand Springs Preserve.

Habitat:

Waterfalls, transparent springs, marshland, large deciduous trees, sagebrush/juniper scrub with basalt outcroppings.

Birds:

American Dipper, Great/Snowy Egrets, Barn/Great-horned/Western Screech Owl, Great-blue and Black-crowned Herons, Sora and Virginia Rail, Lazuli Bunting, Yellow-breasted Chat, Wood Duck, Accipiters, Prairie Falcon, Golden Eagle.

Directions:

Go north from the Perrine Bridge to I-84 and go west. Take exit 155 and follow Hagerman Highway west. After 3.5 miles turn left on 1500 E and go 2.5 miles. Turn right on 3200 S and drive 2 miles to the "T" intersection. Turn left on 1300 E for .2 mile, then right on Thousands Springs Grade which descends into the canyon.

More information:

See the Thousand Springs State Park Birding Hotspots page for more details.

Camas Prairie Centennial Marsh WMA

Camas Prairie Centennial Marsh WMA

Photo Copyright © 2010
John & Melissa Kopsky

A Wildlife Management Area containing 3,000 acres of wetland, famous for intense Camas blooms in late May.

Habitat:

Brush/sedge/camas marsh surrounded by high desert sagebrush steppe and farmland.

Birds:

Sora, Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet, Wilson's Phalarope, Sand hill Crane, Long-billed Curlew, Eared Grebe, Prairie Falcon, Sage Thrasher, Mountain Bluebird, Brewers' and Vesper Sparrows.

Directions:

From the Perrine Bridge head north and take I-84 west. Exit at Wendell (exit 157) onto Highway 46, drive through Wendell and Gooding through the Bennett Hills and down into the Camas Prairie. Turn left onto US 20 through Fairfield to milepost 143.1, turn left (south) onto Wolf Lane. After 5 miles turn right onto Stokes Road which will take you to the Wildlife Management Area.

South Hills / Magic Mountain / Rock Creek Road

South Hills Important Bird Area (IBA). An exquisite high desert canyon drive with plenty of hiking available. Fabulous birding spring through fall.

Habitat:

Sagebrush steppe, willow, cottonwood, and aspen riparian, mountain mahogany and fir groves within a deep rhyolite canyon.

Birds:

All three Accipiters, Prairie Falcon, Kestrel, Golden Eagle, Chukar Partridge, Lewis Woodpecker, Red-naped sapsucker, Calliope/Rufous/Black-chinned and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, South Hills Crossbill, Swainson’s and Hermit Thrush, Western Wood Pewee, Lark/Fox/Song/Brewers/Vesper/ and White-Crowned Sparrows, Lazuli Bunting, Juniper Titmouse, Warbling and Plumbeous Vireo, MacGillivray’s/Yellow/Yellow-rumped/Wilson’s/ and Black-throated Gray Warbler, Northern Pygmy/Flammulated/Saw-whet/Western Screech and Great-horned Owls (with tapes), Hammond’s/Dusky and Cordilleran Flycatchers, Mountain Bluebird, Common Poorwill and many more.

Directions:

From the Perrine Bridge head south for 4.5 miles on Blue Lakes Boulevard, turn left on 3700 North (also called Orchard and Sugar Factory Road), pass through Kimberly at five miles and at Hansen (eight miles from Blue Lakes Boulevard) turn right on Rock Creek road at the sign for Sawtooth National Forest. Continue eight miles south to the mouth of Rock Creek Canyon and then as many as 18 more miles to the top at Magic Mountain Ski Area. In summer (and if you have a map) continue on the Rogerson Road through the Shoshone Basin to make a loop finishing up on U.S. 93 near the small town of Rogerson.

More information:

See the South Hills Birding Hotspots page for more details.

Other good areas

  • Cottonwood Creek Special Management Area
  • Jarbidge Resource Management Area
  • Milner Dam Recreation Area
 
South Hills Crossbill

South Hills Crossbill

How often do you get to discover a new bird species in the continental United States - let alone in your own backyard? Learn all about the South Hills Crossbill and the challenges faced to have it listed as a new species.

Read on for more info