Idaho is located in the Northwest portion of the United States, and it is known for many things, such as its natural beauty and diverse wildlife. Many areas within the state are designated as wildlife conservation zones. For instance, there are many parks, reserves, and even learning centers that are meant to protect and foster the rehabilitation of the environment. In tandem with being good for the environment, these areas are also hotspots for seeing wildlife such as birds and mammals.
Among the most beloved animals in Idaho, there are songbirds, river fish, and even species that are specially adapted to living in mountainous regions. Idaho is also split into many different biomes, such as grasslands, mountains, and even deserts.
Some of the specialized animals in those areas are flying predators, such as birds of prey, bats, and even insects. Have you ever wondered if there are dangerous animals flying in Idaho’s skies? Well, you’re in luck because that is exactly what we will talk about today!
Are Idaho Ecosystems Dangerous?
Relatively speaking, ecosystems in Idaho are no more dangerous than those found in other states. Regardless, there is something to be said about how much area in Idaho is untouched or natural land.
Generally speaking, natural areas typically have more animals in them because they have more habitat and more resources at their disposal. Thus, there are a lot of animals in Idaho, many of which are dangerous!
Idaho also has a lot of diverse biomes within its borders, as discussed above. Typically, each biome has at least one (or in most cases multiple) predators that are especially adapted to fly. This is why there are so many dangerous flying animals in Idaho.
What Are the Most Dangerous Animals in Idaho’s Skies
As previously mentioned, each ecosystem type has its group of predatorial flyers, due to the need for animals to fill upper predatory niches in each biome. Moreover, there are often multiple species of flying birds, insects, and even mammals (in the case of bats) that can be found in a given area in Idaho.
1. Bald Eagles
Bald eagles are an iconic American symbol, known for their distinct plumage, huge wings, and sharp talons. They are specialized for hunting aquatic animals such as fish, although they also eat a variety of other animals such as ducks and small rodents. They don’t typically attack people, unless they feel threatened, or mistake them for some type of prey.
There are many videos online of eagles attacking large animals such as bears. As you can guess, these attacks aren’t usually in the pursuit of food and are typically done in an act of defense. When attacking, eagles swoop down at incredibly high speeds and latch on with their razor-sharp talons. This type of behavior can make them incredibly dangerous.
Although you may not realize it, bats are a common flying predator that can be dangerous in Idaho. Many species of bats live in the state. Contrary to the popular belief that every bat feasts on blood, most bats (especially those in Idaho) are insectivorous. In other words, they generally eat very small insects like flies, moths, beetles, and leafhoppers. Even though they are extremely small, bats happily get enough energy from bugs alone!
Unlike some of the predatory birds on this list, bats are extremely shy and rarely go out during the day. In order to hunt at night, bats use echolocation, which is a form of movement/hunting that uses sound waves to map objects in conditions that are difficult to see. It is generally thought that bats adapted to be nocturnal so that they would have a reduced risk of running into predators while still being able to forage for bugs.
All of this goes to show that bats don’t attempt to hunt humans ever. The real danger for people comes when they come into close proximity with bats, as they have been known to carry harmful diseases such as rabies and histoplasmosis. Luckily, the vast majority of bats aren’t positive for rabies, however, it is best to just stay away in general.
Lastly, it is also important to note that we can harbor a lot of fungal diseases that are harmful to them, such as white-nose syndrome, which is an illness that interferes with their hibernation and decreases their metabolic efficiency.
3. American Kestrels
Kestrels are a great species of predator bird that can be found throughout most of Idaho during most of the year. They are charming little predators, that are actually the smallest of the raptor family in North America! On top of this, kestrels also have striking plumage, that consists of orange and grey-blue sections dotted with black moddling.
Since they are small, they aren’t really a threat to people. With that in mind, they are still ruthless aerial predators of small animals and are known for their combined speed and strength. As mentioned, they are extremely common in Idaho, and can even be seen near rural cities, perched on buildings or powerlines in search of prey. Most kestrel enthusiasts do note that they can pose a risk to small pets such as dogs and rabbits. You may want to keep that fact in mind if you are planning on taking an outdoor excursion with your small furry friends!
4. Peregrine Falcons
Another speedy bird that is dangerously found in the Idaho skies is the peregrine falcon. They are known for their striking grey-blue plumage. In addition to their unique feathers, they also have extremely sleek and streamlined bodies, with powerful, bright-yellow legs! They have been found throughout the majority of Idaho, also they may be a little less conspicuous than the American kestrel.
Like most other birds of prey on this list, peregrine falcons are not interested in deliberately attacking humans out of nowhere. They are territorial birds though, which can pose a few implications in terms of their behavior.
During their breeding season, peregrine falcons will create designated nests and nesting sites. Like many animals, they become extremely territorial and protective of these sites. It is on occasions when people or other animals trespass in these areas that the falcons may become aggressive. Also, just like the other large birds on this list, they are equipped with incredibly sharp claws.
Owls are one of the less conspicuous predators that lurk in Idaho. If you don’t know, they are extremely shy nocturnal animals that typically rest or reduce activity during the day. This typically means that owl sightings are rarer than other bird sightings unless you are looking at night!
They are also extremely adept predators. They can stalk and silently glide towards prey at impressive speeds. On top of this, they have talons that act like tiny knives, perfect for digging into prey.
They are generally not dangerous to humans, and attacks are very rare. Regardless, they are one predator that you do not want to mess with!
There are a lot of unique owls that live in Idaho. Some common species are:
6. Flying Insects: Wasps and Hornets
Flying insects are the last category of dangerous flying animals that are found in Idaho. More specifically, wasps, hornets, and other related groups are all considered somewhat dangerous. Unless you have a specific allergy, you likely won’t be in mortal danger if you encounter these animals. They do however have pretty nasty stings and bites that can hurt for a very long time.
Summary of 6 Dangerous Flying Animals in Idaho
|Scientific Name/Group||Common Name|
|Haliaeetus leucocephalus||Bald Eagles|
|Falco sparverius||American Kestrels|
|Falco peregrinus||Peregrine Falcons|
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Riadi Pracipta66/Shutterstock.com
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