A studio for bird study

Tag: boise

Wild Boise: The Belted Kingfisher

by Bryce W. Robinson


Male Belted Kingfisher- Megaceryle alcyon

When I first arrived in Boise, I was impressed by the wild corridor that runs through the middle of the busy western city. Since then, I’ve taken the time to familiarize myself with the areas around the city where I now live. For the remainder of my time here, which is undetermined, I’d like to feature the bird life that this wild corridor, the Boise River, supports. I’ll be featuring species in segments titled “Wild Boise”.

The Boise River travels through the busiest parts of Boise, Idaho. The most raucous of the birds that frequent this city stream is the Belted Kingfisher- Megaceryle alcyon, a seemingly ornery critter that is always voicing its opinion.

These birds are always present around the university where I spend most of my time, and as such are accustomed to people. I recognized the opportunity to study them in the beginning of my time here, but I haven’t sat and watched the birds at length. Today, I decided to take some time and attempt to interact with the kingfisher a bit. It was a great way to start the new year. Next, I’ll be grabbing a tripod and filming their antics. It will be a challenge though, as they are quite an active bird, always switching perches, taking new views of the river where they glean their livelihood.

Stay tuned for the next feature for Wild Boise. I’d like to make these segments weekly, but as a graduate student, that might be a challenging schedule. Time will tell, I suppose.


Brown Creeper- Certhia americana

by Bryce W. Robinson


It was a bitter cold day here in Boise, but the Brown Creepers seemed content. I found a few flitting about, feeding along the Boise River. They were so cooperative, or they were entranced with the task of feeding themselves such that they didn’t, or couldn’t mind my attention.

Either way, I was lucky. I managed this photo of a creeper, about to consume a small meal, and move on to the next. What a great bird to watch and enjoy.


A “Meridionalis” Turkey Vulture

by Bryce W. Robinson


I gave my Turkey Vulture warts, for a reason. As I’ve stated in previous posts, I’ve began pursuing a degree in Raptor Biology at Boise State University, under the direction of David Anderson at the Peregrine Fund, and Marc Bechard, who has been with BSU since the 1980’s. Dr. Anderson is a great man himself, and I’m sure I’ll have plenty to tell about him later, but for this post, I’d like to mention some things about Dr. Bechard.

Last week Dr. Bechard accompanied me and a few of my peers, along with Greg Kaltenecker of Idaho Bird Observatory to attempt to capture migrating Turkey Vultures. Ultimately we failed, but I feel like I learned some things about Dr. Bechard and his interest with Cathartes aura, commonly called the Turkey Vulture. While trapping hawks in the blind at Lucky Peak, I picked his brain for insights into the life histories of the Turkey Vulture. He told me many things, but one aspect that stuck was his discussion of the subspecies of the Turkey Vulture, their regional distribution, and their migratory habits.

We in the west see what is called subspecies meridionalis, which is the subspecies I’ve illustrated above. Those in the east see septentrionalis. In Arizona, you find the nominate aura at its northern extent. These three sub groups comprise the Turkey Vultures found in North America. Of course in S. America, there are others. It is not often that you find a man who specializes on vultures. I find myself lucky to be working under such a man. At the moment, he is in Gambia, trapping Hooded Vultures with Keith Bildstein of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. Lucky him, as he is off chasing exotic vultures while I teach his classes. I’m perfectly fine filling in while he’s gone, so long as he teaches me all that he knows!

Juvenile "Western" Turkey Vulture- Cathartes aura meridionalis

Juvenile “Western” Turkey Vulture- Cathartes aura meridionalis