Saturday, November 26, 2011

New Saw-whet

Our new Northern Saw-whet Owl came from Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge, discovered by the side of a hiking trail, unable to fly. Refuge personnel delivered her to rehabilitator Judy Hoy of Stevensville and and her examination revealed a wing break in the deep tissue of the shoulder and non-releasable. So the permit amendment came through from the Federal Fish and Wildlife service, and voila: now a Raptor of the Rockies. Buster the Saw-whet lived to be twelve years old, not a world record but close. He was always a program favorite, dazzling tens of thousands of people over the years. This one is also very calm and loves her little mice. We thought of another well-behaved little girl, and named her Maya, after our ten-year-old friend Maya Heffernan. She has been pal since she was a little nestling, like her brothers Sam and Paul, and Paul has fledged and is off in college.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mookie Learns a Lesson

Our new Black Lab Mookie has been an angel mostly, except for a few chewed TV remote controls. Oh, and a boot lace or two. But always an epiphany and today she learned not to take a partridge away from the Queen Bee, Sibley. Sib was also the hero at U of M for the Montana Wildlife Class tonight, guest of professor Dr. Joel Berger. We played the PowerPoint from our appearance in Boston and with the new Bald Eagle book images at the end, and even had the students hoot like an owl for a finale. I was delighted to see every attendee participate, at threat of failing the class (just kidding). We love Joel and wish him luck on his next arctic and Mongolian adventure.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Another Day in the Field

Sibley the Peregrine has had some great flights lately, after ducks and pheasants in the Bitterroot, and a shot from yesterday at the MPG Ranch. More news from the award -"The National Outdoor Book Awards (NOBA) is the outdoor world's largest and most prestigious book award program. It is a non-profit, educational program, sponsored by the NOBA Foundation, Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education, and Idaho State University. The purpose of the Awards is to recognize and encourage outstanding writing and publishing. Each fall in early November, the NOBA Foundation announces the winners of the nine categories making up the program, including History, Literature, Children, Nature, Instructional, Adventure Guidebook, Nature Guidebook, Design, and Outdoor Classic." We are so happy to have been chosen, and hope for big press on the way!

Friday, November 18, 2011


Our Raptors of the West just won the National Outdoor Book Award! Announcements were made yesterday, and our book took the honors for Design and Artistic Merit, and the judges wrote, "This is a book of action photography and it will rock your socks!" It's like winning an Oscar, minus the statue. I replied to the chairman, "It was way too much fun putting that book together, and the whole time I had jazz on the stereo and my Peregrine Falcon, Sibley, perched nearby. I always looked to her for inspiration when stuck for a caption idea!" Check the web site: NOBA and they finish with:
Quite simply, it’s among some of the best action bird photography ever published.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Coyote Choir Kids

Here was Tuesday night, thanks to an invitation from Amy Martin, ringmaster for the talents of the Coyote Choir, the singing group of kids from the Missoula area and recording stars. We met at the Missoula Children's Theatre with Jillian the Great Horned Owl to explore ideas about partnering for a musical project, and creative juices were flowing. When asked what I envisioned, I told them it would be an appearance on Lenno or Letterman, and they had no idea what I was talking about. These guys don't watch TV! Jillian and I were treated to a wonderful performance of their original song "What Kind of Animal Are You?" that included echidnas sticking out their tongues. Look that one up in your field guide to Australian monotremes...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Christmas Open House at the Ohrmann's

Join Bill, Phyll, and John at the fabulous Ohrmann Museum and Gallery and see the new paintings and sculptures by our best pal Bill. Days are this Saturday and Sunday, November 19th and 20th from 11 am until 5 pm. They are the "Usually Open" Gallery 2 1/2 miles south of Drummond on Highway 1, the only farm house with a 10 foot stainless steel polar bear and this giant wooly mammoth out front.
We wouldn't miss it for the world!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Eagles Again

The big day of 11/11/11 and I spaced out bringing my tripod to go photograph the Bald Eagles with the new 500 mm lens. Nope, nothing in the car and accidentally left it at home, bummer.
So I fashioned a tripod out of a forked stick found on the beach, just like the folks on Gilligan's Island or maybe the Flintstones would do. Right away I found both adults lounging, one in a cottonwood and the other I spotted way up river in a Ponderosa Pine. About one hundred images later, Bald Eagle behavior captured, I promised that next time I won't forget that essential piece of gear. Kind of shaky, shooting with a stick in the sand and all that glass!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Gallery Wrap Art

An attorney in Denver that is a prominent conservationist and falconer has a great collection of falcon artwork and photos in his office. He has images from book partners Rob Palmer and Nick Dunlop, and now Kate Davis. Gale Johnson at Custom Digital Imaging created a stunning 60 inch gallery wrap of this Peregrine Falcon Stoop which we sent off, and can only imagine how it looks surrounded by other falcons. This unique piece can be yours, here three are side by side, and I know I am ordering one for our "falcon shrine" in our house. Contact me if you are interested, and would make a great gift for the bird (or speed) enthusiast in your family!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"Stained Glass" Eagle

Today's shot of one of the adult Bald Eagles on the beach, and a keeper for the new book. Our friend Carmen Bassin commented that it looked like an image in stained glass. We had our first snow yesterday and some of it lingered, causing skiers to rub their hands with glee awaiting the big winter. A reminder that early price season passes at Snowbowl are! See you at the Bowl and another epic year, guaranteed.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Owls Are the Stars for National Geographic

We hosted a film crew for the last two days, including one night, and the owls were the stars for an educational project for kids. Experts from Grizzly Creek Films that produce a series for Nat Geo Wild television made the trip from Bozeman, and software techs from Microsoft in Seattle descended on the Raptor Ranch with gear galore. They are creating a curriculum for kids that explains the lives of owls, and they met our teaching team on Tuesday. Nighttime supermodels were Jillian the Great Horned and Degas the Long-eared Owls, filmed in the forest with infrared lights and cameras in complete darkness aside from the moderate moonlight. Then iPod the Pygmy-owl, Jillian and Degas calmly posed for more segments yesterday. Series and project host is Casey Anderson, The Bear Guy, who is
fantastic and a natural for the show. And I know that's not an owl, it's Nigel the eagle and two hams.