Thursday, June 22, 2017

Bald Eagle Evenings

Weird but all I have seen at the beach the last three trips are the eagles and no Ospreys or falcons. Officially dark at 8:26 pm, and now the days will get shorter. The first shot is a huge chunk of meat being delivered by the female who made several passes and out of breath to get it up to the nest. Roadkill? And the same bird being attacked by a bunch of ravens, just because.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

RIP Our Rough-leg

Poor Otto the Rough-legged Hawk died yesterday, and a surprise as he was getting around his building and eating mice on his own. I had been treating him for illness for just over three weeks and I thought he was on the mend. I suppose it was old age as he joined us as a hatch-year bird in 1997, handed over from a rehabber. A car collision and broken wing prevented him from being released and I named him after my Dad's buddy that was visiting at the time, Gene "Otto" Miller. Our Red-tail Alisa died this spring of "acute clostridial enteritis, rare in raptors" and I'll find out more. What a terrible year this has been.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Fox Photos

I took an alternate route home from Stevensville yesterday (buying a squirrel trap!) and lo and behold, four baby foxes were playing on a big log pile. After a while a neighbor drove by and said there were eight, but he must have been counting the adults as the males help raise the young. My first ever fox photos, unlike pal Rob Palmer that filled a book (Swift Foxes.)

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Raptors And Art at the MAM

Pal Bev Glueckert and I have been teaching a week-long summer camp for the Missoula Art Museum for about 15 years, and here is the class of 2017. Owls on Monday, hawks and falcons Tuesday, and today the paper mache raptor sculptures begin! The artists had live models and Ruby shows off her Peregrine drawing for a promo film for the MAM with Sibley to her left. Lily draws a Saw-whet with Owen the owl in the background. One year we were doing this class on the U of M campus and they accidentally booked us in the Botany Building lecture hall. Our sculptures were constructed in the parking lot, quite entertaining to the bystanders.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Back to the Beach

I hadn't been down in a week and even then never got any photos, then the water dropped and a bonanza last night. Here are a few - female eagle plunging from the scenic snag to catch a whitefish, and baby number three shows his face for a split second. See him/her? Right below the parent. Fun, mostly.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Otto Bounces Back

Otto the Rough-legged Hawk was on death's doorstep two weeks ago today, and appears to be recovering. He is 20 years old, joining us as a hatch year bird after a car collision in the Flathead Valley and broken wing. The Sunday of Memorial Day weekend he was laying on the ground and I frantically started making phone calls for advice. Lisa Rhodin at the rehab center in Helena suggested a steroid injection and we located some Dexamethazone at the home of our semi-retired veterinarian Dr. Melinda Robin in Hamilton. We didn't know if it would work as it was a long-expired bottle, but somehow Otto hung in there. Then a fresh batch on Tuesday, tube feeding twice a day, and in a kennel and baby crib. After a week he suddenly stood up and walked across the yard! Our vet friend at Auburn University suggested doses of Metronidazole to treat his GI tract, prescribed by Willow Mountain Veterinary in Corvallis and acquired at Florence Pharmacy. Now he is in a building, standing on a perch and looking perky! Just hoping he'll eat on his own soon, as still tube feeding which neither of us enjoy at all. What a group effort and beloved bird.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

New GHOwl

Just over two weeks ago, a baby Great Horned Owl joined us from the Wildlife Center of Montana in Helena. Director Lisa Rhodin knew we were hoping to acquire a second Great Horned Owl and took in this downy chick after he was confiscated by authorities. Some people in Chester, Montana were keeping him as a pet (and feeding him hamburger) - a big no-no. Federal and State Permits are required to keep these birds, with strict regulations and reports. So Simon as we named him is an imprint bird, and thinks he's "people." We have applied to have him placed on our Possession Permit and then he'll join the Teaching Team, giving the other big owl Jillian a break.

Sunday, June 4, 2017


Rockin Rudy's of Missoula has all of the new cards on display now, here with our friend Erin. Sales of these greeting cards goes to benefit Raptors of the Rockies, and thanks owner and fellow jazz-lover Bruce Micklus for the opportunity and generosity. He's sold our cards since the very first color printer and about 5 cameras ago, and now they are expertly crafted by Pyramid Printing. Team effort!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Saturday, May 27, 2017

New Cards!

Our friends at Pyramid Printing in Missoula just finished our second batch of folding cards, available from us at and at Rockin Rudy's. All my photos and some old ones (Golden Retrievers) and brand new (Raven and Bald Eagle.)

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Kevin's Kids

The weather cooperated, the raptors were on their best behaviors, and the bird refuge was packed with avian life. We enjoyed a wonderful field trip with Kevin Cashman's 4th graders from Chief Charlo School on Monday. Starting out with a tour of the Raptor Ranch and Sonora the Aplomado Falcon, the kids took notes and made sketches in their journals. Then we had a picnic at Lee Metcalf NWRefuge and a great chat by director Tom Reed, spotting scopes, binoculars and field guides galore. Kevin kept track of species and writing projects when they all get back to the classroom. Now this is the way to learn! Lucky youngsters, and thanks to you Kevin.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

First Osprey in Days

The Ospreys have been very scarce at the beach, despite record numbers of nests in the vicinity. I know of at least two brand new ones near-by, maybe more. Anyway, just as I set of the camera one came swooping in. It scares the bejesus out these eagles.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Saturday Night On the Beach

Every few years I try to upgrade my camera set-up and just bought the Nikon D810. Lots of different settings from the D800, and actually had to read the instruction manual. I should have done it sooner as I missed a killer heron/fishing sequence which turned out a total blur! Here the male is landing just before dark.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Nest Last Night

A ground squirrel delivery to the two chicks.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

May 17th?!

But it's a wet cold.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


It's a very soggy walk but made it to the river last night for the latest glimpse of the eagle chicks. He was feeding them some yummy ground squirrel and either they were scurrying about quite a bit, or they may three in there. That happened two years ago and freaked me out.
And the Golden Eagle "nest" was removed from the building when I caught Nigel incubating that egg. That was last Friday in a rain storm and hopefully our two genius eagles are giving up.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Max the Genius

Our big bully Golden Eagle Max is 28 years old and has a new trick this spring - nest duties on the ground. He's been laying down in the dirt for hours a day, a few weeks now, and wish he would knock it off. At first I thought he was mortally ill, as he'd let me touch and hand feed him which is quite a stretch from his big bullydom. Keeping a careful watch on the three eagles, I am sure now that Max is incubating a nice rock. Gives him a sense of purpose, I suppose and I don't think it will hatch.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


We have a slough that runs through the back, east of the house and then the river beyond that. When we moved in back in 2001 Tom built a bridge that we installed and he has repaired after the neighbor rode her horse across, and some kids had a jumping contest. It is cabled to a stake in the bank and every year or two the floodwaters rise and bridge floats. Once again, our friend Mike DeNeve to the rescue and he pulled the bridge out with his skid steerer (Bobcat) and it's safely on land until the high waters recede. Here's a species digging the water, Spotted Sandpipers everywhere.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Eagle Action

May 2nd, then delivery of a muskrat (check out that tail.)

Friday, May 5, 2017

Nice Field Trip, Mr. Fett

We made the exception to the rule "kindergarten through 5th grade only" big time and spent two days with seniors at Hamilton High School, science with teacher Birch Fett. First was a classroom Powerpoint and bird program then this week a visit to a nearby Bald Eagle nest. The kids proved that you really don't need a camera setup that costs more than your car when you have an iPhone. Amazing pictures through the spotting scope! Really roughing it on the lawn of the Daly Mansion, nice field trip. Nest is circled in white, two chicks, how scenic.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Painted Turtle Romance

A shot from the bridge over the slough. Awwww.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

More Peregrines

These are adults up the Blackfoot yesterday, and even mated twice. Kind of far off but brought in with binoculars, scope and camera.  My mom and sister were along and are naturals at this Peregrine-watching stuff. I think it's safe to say that out of the three ledges they've been frequenting, this will be the nest site. We called it "Jay's ledge."

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Peregrine On the Beach

A brief visit from this year old Peregrine, and suddenly flew...for some reason.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Two Chicks!

Looks like two chicks this year:
I said that two years ago and a third stood up in the nest weeks later. I shrieked like a little girl. She’s keeping her eye on that pesky raven I think.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Last Night

This raven and eagle sure don't get along, one chasing the other all the time! Great light for once.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Our Max, the Golden Eagle!

His 28th birthday, or pretty close. This photo will be included in the upcoming HawkWatch Calendar with 13 other of my photos. Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Spot the Target Species?

My friend Mac Donofrio did within a minute, searching for a pair of Peregrines up in the Bitterroot Mountains Friday. I came slogging in after punching through a few feet of snow on an old logging road then bushwhacking up a ridge for an hour. Mac was way ahead of me, and gasping for breath I asked if he had anything, perched on a rock and peering his scope. "Got em,"  he declared. We decided to stay in hopes of some closer action, but this was it - one up on that distant cliff of One Horse Creek. With Mac looking through the scope I had him tell me when she/he was in profile for this photo. HA!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Various Deliveries

I was in a slightly different location last evening hoping to see a downy head poke up and instead got these. A nice new stick brought in by the female (!) then at least one ground squirrel and perhaps a fish. Soon enough we can guess how many chicks they are feeding. Since they built the nest in 2011 it went like this:
2012- three, 2013- two, 2014- one, 2015- three, and last year- two glorious offspring. Thank goodness. I am so lucky to have these friends as neighbors.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Now Look!

Who owns the platform? The Ospreys. Apparently they showed up the day after the goose-exit, and rightfully own the nursery. Today's shot.


Here is the whole platform, and someone just told me that an Osprey was on it the next day! I'll go check it out. Plus the plunge of the last chick, joining the family below and foraging on vegetation, brooded by the female at night. Two months before their feathers grow in and they fly.