A Place Like Idaho

Land of Sudden Sightings

By Linden Bateman

Every March since 2016, the author has written a story for this magazine in honor of Idaho Day on March 4, for which he introduced the legislation in 2014 as an Idaho state representative. Idaho Day commemorates the creation of Idaho Territory by President Abraham Lincoln on March 4, 1863. In the past, Linden’s stories have related to the annual theme of Idaho Day observances, but because of the pandemic, a theme was not developed this year.

Not long ago, a huge bull elk ran near the freeway as former Lt. Governor David Leroy and I drove into Boise. Another time, I was amazed to see an American bald eagle flying within view of the State Capitol Building. The largest concentration of birds of prey in the world can be found in deep canyons along the Snake River within a half hour drive from Boise. Anywhere in Idaho, people can frequently experience surprising and delightful encounters with wildlife.

Personally, I’ve been the most startled and overcome with awe by wild swans—magnificent birds not quite of this world. My reverence for swans began as a child, with my mother’s vivid narration of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Ugly Duckling.” I was more surprised than the ugly duckling himself was upon discovering his true identity, when his comic image transformed into a dazzling white swan, the most beautiful on the lake.

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