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Birding Hotspots - South Hills


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South Hills IBA/Crossbill Hotspots map

The South Hills has recently been named an Important Bird Area of Global Significance due to its excellent Greater Sage Grouse habitat and the presence of the endemic Type 9 South Hills Crossbill.

Also known as the Goose Creek Range or the Minidoka district of the Sawtooth National Forest, the South Hills are located 30 minutes south of Twin Falls. They are strategically located for bird diversity for several reasons. The hills are a rather isolated high desert sky island, geographically located at a transition zone between the Great Basin to the south, the Rocky Mountain ecosystem to the east, and the temperate Snake River Plain to the north.

The hills themselves are also a mosaic of ecosystems including a huge sagebrush steppe basin, extensive juniper areas, deep rhyolite canyons with rich riparian zones, and highlands with subalpine fir/lodgepole pine stands intermixed with aspen.

South Hills

Photo Copyright © 2010
Julie Randall

A recent 24 hour June census found one-hundred and forty-two different species of birds. Area highlights include Flammulated and Burrowing Owl, Grasshopper, Black-throated, and Sage sparrows, Northern waterthrush, Ash-throated and Gray Flycatcher, Greater Sage Grouse, Northern Goshawk, Ferruginous Hawk, and of course the South Hills Crossbill.

We have broken up the South Hills into three regions of hotspots:

 
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