As appeared in Idaho Bird Distribution, 1998,
by Stephen and Sturts
Dr. Palmer David Skaar pioneered the concept of latilong mapping in regional biogeographical studies (Skaar 1969, 1980). P.D. Skaar's Montana Bird Distribution, now in its fifth edition (Ellis, et al. 1996), is the exemplary state latilong bird distribution study. The Montana Bird Distribution study was a catalyst for the Idaho Bird Distribution study.
Robert Kuntz and John Doremus (Bureau of Land Management, Boise District) initiated the Idaho Bird Distribution Latilong Study in 1980. They collected bird records and compiled data from Thomas D. Burleigh's Birds of Idaho onto 3x5 cards. Kuntz left Idaho in 1983 to take a position with the National Park Service in Washington state, and the project stalled. The study was restarted, with the support of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, by Dan Stephens and Shirley H. Sturts in 1988. The first edition of Idaho Bird Distribution was published in 1991 with the support of the Idaho Museum of Natural History and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (Stephens and Sturts 1991). This publication represented the first major work on Idaho birds since the 1972 publication of Birds of Idaho (Burleigh 1972).
The computer database of Shirley H. Sturts served as the stimulus for the development of the Idaho Bird Distribution Database. The data compiled by Juntz and Doremus, thousands of records from birders, data from government reports and other publications, as well as Breeding Bird Survey records were entered into the database. The database currently contains about 38,000 individual birds records. It is presently being fine-tuned by the authors, and will be accessible to those interested sometime in 1998.
This publication was made possible by the hundreds of people who took the time to record their bird sightings and report them. These people not only enjoy the beauty and diversity of Idaho's birds, but also realize that bird conservation depends on such basic knowledge. The authors are proud to play a role in furthering the understanding of Idaho's birds, and hope this will help preserve Idaho's natural heritage for future generations.
Addendum: In October 2004, J. Harry Krueger and Stacy Jon Peterson initiated "IdahoBirds.net" -- the website devoted to birding in Idaho that you are surfing right now. Stephen & Sturts agreed that Idaho Bird Distribution would fit nicely into this online forum, as the 6-year old book was in need of being updated. Work was soon begun to make this a reality. What visitors will see in this section of IdahoBirds is the tireless work of many people, not the least of which are Shirley & Keith Sturts, themselves.