Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Thanks Everyone!

Thanks to all of my friends in cyberspace for the Happy Birthday Wishes. Astounding! Barry Gordon took this photo on my birthday in 1989 or '90, Clive, our first Red-tailed Hawk. Wish I still had that sweater - it was super-warm and it's minus ten degrees around here today, four birds inside. I chickened out on the traditional trip to SnowBowl, but the next two days, skiing!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

More Eagles

The eagles were in this exact spot yesterday as a photo from February, and darn it, couldn't run down there as I had to go skiing. I saw a young friend Scott who asked if we still had Max, the Golden Eagle. He recounted the time when Max jumped off his perch and ran into the boy's bathroom at an assembly his school. I reminded him that I gathered several girls to go in there and retrieve him. When we entered the off-limits bathroom one young girl exclaimed, "No fair! They have drinking fountains!" I'm not making that up, and Scotty blushed.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Eagles

I had Sib loaded in the car for a fly and noticed the eagles above their nest, so raced down with the camera and tripod just as young female Northern Goshawk flew right over their heads, the unperturbed eagles were still there four hours later. That's quite a sight. Then Sib just after that at the MPG Ranch. What a day, thanks for the gifts bird world.

Christmas Cheer

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve Merlin

Across the river, taking Sib for a fly just now, and glad I packed my camera despite the poor light and drizzle. Love these little falcons! 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Man, Do I Need To Molt

This is that same young Bald Eagle, and replaced the next day with "our" pair in the same spot.  Jay and I were flying the Peregrines yesterday, and timed it just right between bouts of rain and wind. We "imped" a primary feather on Sib, the falconers trick of replacing broken feathers using a molted feather, sliver of bamboo (Good Cook barbecue skewers) and glue (five minute epoxy) just like the olden days. And it worked well, back on her game.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Not Quite Adults

Parents, bet you say that to the kids, not grown-ups yet. These are two Bald Eagles that were hanging on the river snags this morning and couldn't resist running down with the camera and dogs. On the left is a huge 2 1/2 year old female and a scruffy looking 3 1/2 year old male, not "our" birds, or the ones nesting this year. Maybe offspring from past years coming back to check out their old haunts.

The Cat is Out of the Bag

We were sworn to secrecy at our first meeting, and now the battle cry is "spread the word!" These are the speakers for TEXx 2015. Fellow speaker and long time pal from the Coyote Chior writes, "The theme of the conference is language, and a few of the other speakers include Turning the Wheel's Lizzi Juda and Lulu Steinberg, Missoula Mayor John Engen, Salish and Pend d’Oreille language school Executive Director April Charlo, climate change communicator SusanJoy Hassol, journalist Clay Scott and Raptors of the Rockies Director Kate Davis. And that's not all! Click here to see all the speakers
Check out Amy's web site as well, our hero.  

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

KUFM Studios

Nothing but fun at Montana Public Radio and here is Owen in the kennel, Sibley on her perch and Lisa "Kersh" Kerscher just before our broadcast yesterday. She met me beforehand to coach me on my TEDx Talk. Yes, I am one of seventeen speakers for a TED extravaganza that will be in the Dennison Theater February 20th 2015. I'll be talking about owls communicating in the dark with Jillian the Great Horned, more news on the way.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Pea Green Boat Tomorrow

The last program of the year. That makes 50 total for 2014, and what a finale. See Otto the Rough-leg (pictured here),  listen to Sibley the Peregrine and her bells, and imagine Owen the Saw-whet Owl LIVE on the radio! Montana Public Radio, left of the dial across the state and streaming live on the planet earth at 4:00 -5:00 pm Mountain Standard, Big Sky time.


Amorous already. The three Bald Eagle nests I've been watching all have both adults hanging near by. At the one in my eagle book on the Clark Fork, parent birds have added about 2 vertical feet of sticks over the last few years, an enormous platform now. This is one in the Bitterroot yesterday was formally a Red-tail nest and taken over by these eagles last year. Fledged three I think.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Press Lately

Nigel made the cover of Rural Montana Magazine, story and photo by editor Ryan Hall. Entitled "Co-ops proactive in raptor protection," he discusses efforts to reduce and even eliminate raptor electrocutions and power line collisions. "It's a win-win for us," said a cooperative superintendent, to prevent avian induced power outages and protect raptors. Also, Cody Wright wrote a great story in the Missoulian last week about our pal Bill Ohrmann's influence on other artists, and recounted my years of welding tutelege with the master. The next day, I was introduced at our Five Valleys Audubon Programs as "Kate Davis - educator, author, and sculpture."  I struck a dramatic pose, but I'm pretty sure he meant sculptor, and read the story.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

New Friends

Thanks to Jaime and Lisa Johnson that happened by while we were flying Sibley up the Blackfoot today. They both shoot Canon and this was with an 800 mm a long way off!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Return of the Filmmakers

Last night we had a great program for Five Valleys Audubon- falcons, hawk and owl for a packed house of birdwatchers (thanks, friends!), and this morning a film crew from Bozeman. Zero Point Zero West joined us for a show to be featured on the Sportsman's Cannel called "Apex Predator." Rick Smith booked the gig, having been over here in 2011 with host Casey Anderson (below) and National Geographic Television. Beautiful foggy backdrop and frost today with a discussion of avian sight, hunting strategies, and the prey search image of Golden Eagles with our bird Nigel. Six episodes in total for the series and they all said, "We'll be back!"

Sunday, December 7, 2014


Sibley wants a snack

And See You Monday Night, Too!

And next, the Five Valleys Audubon meeting tomorrow evening at the university. We'll see a PowerPoint of bird photographs, and discuss the natural history (and personal history) of the Aplomado Falcon, with star Sonora from The Peregrine Fund. I’ll also touch on American Kestrel population status across the continent, a kestrel on hand. Alisa the Red-tail and Jillian the Great horned Owl as well rounding out the total, and of course we’ll practice “hooting like an owl.” We will have a stash of all of my books for the signing – and bookmarks for all our friends! 7:30 pm at the Gallagher Business Building, U of M, free and open to everyone. We love Audubon!

Friday, December 5, 2014

See You Tomorrow

Join us for a book signing at Fact and Fiction Books tomorrow from 2:30 until 4:00 pm. I'll see which kestrel wants to join us, Ella or Wes, maybe both! Rumor has it they will have a big holiday parade right down Higgins in front of the book store when we are done.

Thursday, December 4, 2014


We have a film crew coming over next week and wondering where to fly Sib. Apparently it's for a hunting show on TV, and they want me to talk about raptor vision with the host. So of our 4 or 5 location options we are wondering scenery, potential for game, high flight, or low swoops and goofing off like today at One Horse Creek. Decisions, decisions, and a nice shot in light snow this afternoon. Great because I tripped and fell on my camera hunting with Jay on Sunday and wondered if the focus was off on the lens. More experimentation needed, but this looks fine, Nikon fans!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

No Vegans Here

I know that a lot of folks wonder what these raptors eat, and today I spent hours butchering chickens. Yes, nineteen live birds, three of which that have been fed to the eagles and now the rest installed in the freezer. We thank our Raptor Backers for the food, items that include game meat and thousands of mice from a genetics laboratory. Plus, we buy quail that all of the falcons enjoy, and for the Sharp-shinned Hawk, quail legs every morning. Max the Golden Eagle pictured here tries to eat everything offered, not at all fussy and a glutton. 25 years old and he's been getting quite bossy with his roommates Nigel and Sonny.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Another From the Archives

At the Open House for Ohrmann Museum and Gallery a month ago, a friend Kathleen toured around the entire yard and confessed, "I so much love these sculptures, but for the life of me, I can't figure out what one of these pieces is supposed to be." It turned out to be this one, a raccoon I made and gave Bill and Phyll as a gift eight years ago. A wire animal, mask and ringed tail in black that Bill kept for a while, then welded his signature animal heart inside, seen in red. That's the raccoon's heart and Bill's wry smile with his flock/herd of sculptures in the background.  I told Kathleen that the mystery sculpture was one of Bill's early impressionistic efforts. HA! We sure miss you, Bill.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sonora's Hang-Out

Our little Aplomado Falcon will probably be spending nights inside again if we hit negative numbers for temperatures. Actually, around 5 degrees and she's in the spare bedroom. This is where she hangs out every day, regardless of weather - her perch on the book case door. Yes, there is paper below and a perfect house-mate. She'll be the star for our Five Valleys Audubon program on Dec 8th. More reminders on the way...

Friday, November 28, 2014

Prairie Falcon

This is another photo from Thanksgiving, and Jay was calling his Peregrine back to the lure when this bird landed in the tree near-by. A beautiful male Prairie Falcon that watched us for a bit then took off across the Bitterroot Valley, heading to the Sapphire Mountains.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

In Living Color!

The new Newsletter is up on the web site, thanks Steve, so see it here in living color. I mailed out 100 yesterday, the rest today, and pretty old-fashioned I know. I like reading on paper, so call me a throwback. Packed with news and photos and gift ideas for the holidays! Raptor Round-Up #46:

Monday, November 24, 2014

Northern Harrier

Yesterday's "Marsh Hawk." A buoyant young bird interacting with the Peregrines as we were hunting ducks. I love these hawks and the only aggressive behavior I have ever seen between the species in all of these years was when Sibley knocked down a duck and four or five harriers came in to claim it, forcing the falcon to retreat to a snag with her tail between her legs, so to speak. Otherwise it's an aerial ballet, playing games over our heads. The lower photo is from 2012, a favorite photo.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

November Falcon

I had a nice visit with John and Phyll Ohrmann yesterday, coffee at the kitchen table and lots of fond Bill memories. They are doing well, and appreciate the letters of condolences and best wishes. That photo from yesterday is Bill with Chesty the Harris's Hawk landing on the T-perch, taken in front of the Ohrmann Gallery. She also did this "trick" for John who said it was all he could do to keep his eyes open and not cringe and dive for cover. Those hawks look pretty imposing, coming in for a landing over your head. Here is Sibley the Peregrine who just caught a Goldeneye across the river.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Saddest Passing

Our dear dear friend Bill Ohrmann left this earth today to pass on to his world in the sky. We are so saddened and I am beyond words to express my grief. Nearly 96 years of age, he had more gusto and passion in his long life than anyone can begin to imagine. As son John says, "Keep his visions in your heart."We all love you, Bill.


It seems like every winter we have a Northern Goshawk lurking in the shadows, or the top of the pine trees. This young male chased one of our pigeons around and around and finally gave up, for now at least. He perched by the pigeon loft and the flock circled him at a safe distance for several minutes before they rose up hundreds of feet and split. He'll figure it out, but these pigeons come from racing stock and are fast!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Look What Showed Up On My Email:

Hey, mass email and Amazon has chosen our Mountain Press books to tout! I even saw the kestrel book on an ad on Facebook, cool. Now I'll have to buy that third book listed, The Lost Bird Project. Looks great.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Round-Up Newsletter

I've been writing our Raptor Round-Up Newsletter #46 this week and was searching the archives for images to include. I found this one I missed and it will be in an little story about Facebook. Posted on the social media site last night, we received mega-LIKES. It's from my 24-hour visit with Barry Gordon at Wildhorse Island on Flathead Lake in July, at which time I took 700 photographs, Ospreys and Bald Eagles (and a few of Barry at his cabin.) Newsletter out next week, packed with photos and bird stuff and fun! We mail 200 of these out, plus on our web site so stay tuned.

Friday, November 14, 2014


This Great Blue Heron was standing on the fence by the eagles so I ran back and grabbed my camera and one glove. Temperature was zero, and my trigger finger froze solid in about 3 minutes.  These feathers look pretty frosty as well. It's currently warming up to ten and in the teens later today, whew.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Speaking of Bill and Penguins

I had to dig out this photo of Bill Ohrmann and me with our Penguin sculptures, circa 2009. Everyone always asks us "What 'cha gonna make next?" when we are welding, a cuckoo question. We don't know. We just spent months on an 11 foot rhinoceros (Bill) or big shiny Gyrfalcon (Kate) and are finally finished... Anyway, in 2009 I made a metal owl and Bill asked the proverbial question for which I answered, penguins! HA! What a great joke, but within minutes we where planning our strategy and on your mark, get set, go - we started working on our big steel birds. The uncanny part is, we both used the exact same combinations of 4 different metals, but Bill's on the far left has glass eyes. "As if he's staring into leopard seal infested waters," he explained.

Peregrine in the Living Room

I'm waiting for it to warm up to five or ten degrees then Sibley will go back outside for a while, and Sonora will join us in the living room from the spare bedroom. JayDib the kestrel and iPod the Pygmy-Owl are in for the week, kennels around the house. It's just too cold for some of our friends.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Winter Hits

With news of an Arctic blast on the way, I spent yesterday afternoon winterizing enclosures in the pouring rain. Last year we discovered that clear shower curtains make the perfect wind breaks, so I cut one up and stapled it all around the windows in Sonora's building and a few others. The clear lets the sun in and it's durable and doesn't rattle in the wind like lighter material. And just as promised, 3 inches of snow/ice this morning. Here's a young female Sharp-shinned Hawk appropriately perched on the frozen Penguin sculpture at dawn, out bird hunting.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Ohrmann Open House

Take a drive to Drummond for day two of the annual Open House at the Ohrmann Museum and Gallery. Here is artist Bill, son John (also a welder) and wife Phyllis standing in front of the greatest piece of art in the world. Bill made this steel 12 foot tall running Wooly Mammoth in about 2001,  and you have to see it to believe it. Check out the plethora of sculptures in the yard and a gallery filled with oil paintings, wooden carvings, and bronzes that will astound. Guaranteed.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Helmville Duck Hunt

Thanks to Kevin Ertl (on the left) who stormed the pond today and got this gadwall to fly. Thanks and he joked "I've got to get one of those falcons." Heaven on earth, the H 2 Bar 0.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Garde Family Visit

We recently hosted a fun tour of the Raptor Ranch for the Garde Family, pals from Montana Public Radio fame. Here is cousin Mary from Seattle posing by the metal penguin in the yard, Larry and Annie, plus friend Sherri on the right. I have been delighted to "appear" on the radio for 20-something years as have the Gardes, and maybe you wondered what they looked like. Larry is the jazz aficionado of all time and we discussed the guitar history of Pat Martino and Grant Green. "Wes Montgomery is the gold standard," reported Larry. Annie is the Skipper of Pea Green Boat children's programming with a dozen years of hosting every week day and Saturday mornings. She is also a music expert and next time we'll go through the hundreds of jazz CD's in the living room to "discuss."

Monday, November 3, 2014

Sunday Flight

Jay's bird Ki was chasing some ducks Sunday, same bird as in the stoop photo from last week. She's figuring it out. Sib had about a two minute hunt, and this portrait with Mookie the Black Lab, pals.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Flash From the Past

Dylan's mom sent a card and photo back in 2007. This was in our Raptor Round-Up Neswsletter #26!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Jillian the Great Horned Owl's very first program at an elementary school in Hamilton, 2003 on Halloween. The kids made spooky drawings. Scary!