Thursday, November 29, 2012

Creative Caching

Our resident Saw-whet Owen has a decorative streak, as seen here with his placement of mouse hindquarters. He gets 3 or 4 small mice a day and always eats the front half first (or just the head, yum) then caches the rest. All owls do this; falcons as well. They will return to eat the rest later on unless their caretaker brings a fresh batch the next day. Owen's flair for decoration is seen here, as five mouse butts and one whole gray one are woven into the hardware cloth and stacked on the limb, a work of art.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Falcon in the Osprey Nest

This photo from an hour ago at the MPG Ranch across the Bitterroot River, as Sib temporarily interrupts maintenance work on the Osprey Web Cam. Nick and Gus were reattaching the cables when I warned them of a dangerous incoming predator. Cracked them up. These are the guys that run the cameras at the ranch, equipped with night vision and motion sensors and discovered a Wolverine (no way!) and Spotted Skunk (absolutely impossible!) and they have the videos to prove it.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Landing, Not Hunting

Our friends and neighbors Mari and Dave Laursen just hosted a little Peregrine flight up the Burnt Fork today, light rain and dogs at the ready when the pheasants flew. No game birds but Sib was up in the air for a good long time and landed next to these herons. Too bad the one on the left was behind the tree for the photo, but the lower one flew when he/she saw the falcon. The other two didn't even seem to care. All just stood and looked at each other until we called Sib back for a meal. She seems to know the difference between that meal and neighborly birds.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanks For the Eagles

Just got this shot from the yard, the pair of eagles above their nest across the river. We have a spotting scope set up in the living room, and it's the first thing I check in the morning, after switching on KUFM and the burner under the coffee. This is a thankful morning ritual, and rarely disappointed these days, as they are almost always somewhere to be seen.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Bird That Everyone Loves

I guess maybe vegetarians and vegans will skip the turkey dinner, but not around here with a store-bought variety in the oven tomorrow. These wild turkeys are all over the place at One Horse Creek, and thankfully Sibley the Peregrine has never paid any attention. I'd hate to think of the mid-air collision. We'll look in the freezer for wild turkey to feed the birds tomorrow; on Valentines Day they get heart meat! So have a Happy Thanksgiving from all of the birds at the ranch.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Nathan is Out There

I mean that in a righteous way. Nathan DeBoer is in the field a good part of the day armed with his Nikon and 400 mm lens, and he has documented amazing things that otherwise might be considered doubtful. Saturday he discovered this adult male Harris's Hawk in the Bitterroot, the same bird that was up by Flathead Lake last month. That's about 120 miles from here, and many of us consider it an escapee or released captive bird; they are Southwest natives and simply don't migrate. The same day he photographed an immature Ferruginous Hawk near-by and last year an adult Gyrfalcon, all within a mile of his house. He is a bird magnet, and darn good photographer. Nathan's the one that "captured " the Northern Hawk-Owl at the MPG, and I'll see if he'll let me post that one.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Subaru 2's

It can be done: 2 Peregrine Falcons, 2 dogs in kennels, 2 pigeons, 2 chukars, 2 vests and telemetry set-ups, and 2 humans. And I just bought a second Subaru wagon, my 6th or 7th actually, one exactly like this one minus the stickers on the back. The other 2003 was in a supermarket parking lot with a For Sale sign and apparently no one wanted a 5 speed, so I gave him the "or best offer" and it was mine. Except the "new"green Outback has 55,000 fewer miles, a sunroof, and CD player that works. What a luxury for now, having one car For The Birds.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

New Newsletter Out Now

Raptor Round-Up #42, and my favorite so far. Thanks to webmaster Steve Palmer- Read it here: Raptors of the Rockies turns 25, cover girls in the "Montanan" magazine, upcoming show at the Holter Museum, 2 days with the BBC, Flathead Monsters, and more. In living color on the web site, and in mailboxes later today.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


This is what got those herons all riled up on Sunday.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sunday in the 'Root

Jay and I had a great day hunting with the falcons. His new bird had a miraculous recovery after an injury months ago, and now full flight. With a broken coracoid bone,  he just left her alone to heal against the advice of all veterinarians, and it worked. Anyway, Sib was also in perfect form, and the most fun a person can have if you ask me. These herons were startled off a favorite perch by a Bald Eagle that was probably just showing off for the photographers. That same eagle was eyeballing Sibley after she caught a mallard, so I ran to her rescue, apparently a very humorous sight to my hunting partner.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Newsletter On the Way

Sticking around at home the last two days with the snow and arctic storm, and a photo of a Great Gray Owl to appear in Raptor Round-Up #42, mostly done at this stage. Check your mail next week, and as Webmaster Steve Palmer says, "How 20th century."  I still love to stick on the address labels and draw a little hawk face on each one, and our biggest fundraiser for the year, thanks to YOU. And Not our Fiscal Cliff.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

"Respectable" Storm

Now there's something you don't see every day-a SouthWest desert hawk flying in the snow. Chesty the Harris's Hawk doesn't mind it a bit and returned to her building and heat lamp after an hour for a nice squirrel leg, and Sib flew before the snow started. Meteorologist Bryan Henry reports: "This character-building storm should give us a proper introduction to winter..." What a perfect time to hunker down and crank out Raptor Round-Up Newsletter #42, and dry my camera.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Grizzly Claw Trading Company

We'd like to think that the happenin' spot for Seeley Lake on Saturday night was the Grizzly Claw. Along with Alpine Artistry, they hosted the Open Book Club, packing them into their rustic shop downtown with Mom at the center of this photo. I don't know how I did it, but with the Powerpoint and Sibley and Jillian, I spoke for an hour and a half (HA!) We spent a wonderful night in a cabin by the Lake courtesy The Lodges, and then Sunday a falconry demonstation. Sibley was the greatest, and came in on a stoop on the lure...when she was darned good and ready. They have invited us back when the Bald Eagle book comes out, but will probably wait till next fall so we can bring Sibley for another fly.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Join Us in Seeley Lake

Tomorrow we will enjoy a program/book signing at the Grizzly Claw Trading Company in Seeley Lake, with Sibley and Jillian as special guests. Sara Wilcox invited us back in July and Mom and I will make the trek for a fun weekend by the lake. The big owl will spend the night in her travel box so as to not hear her constant hooting ( I learned my lesson,) and Sib has a flight demonstration Sunday morning. Thanks to our friends at Seeley!