Monday, June 30, 2014

Exploratory Exercise

The sole youngster in the Bald Eagle nest in the back yard is increasingly adventurous - climbing, hopping and flapping all around the nest tree. This photo was taken on our deck yesterday morning, and when a huge wind gust blew in, she (maybe he?) was back in the nest on the lower right. Whew, that was close. Two years ago one of the birds fledged on the 4th of July, how patriotic!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Oriole Attack!

A quick visit to the Clark Fork Bald Eagle nest yesterday, the one featured in my book from last year, and reward! The young were hunkered down so I focused on the adult on the Scenic Snag. All of the sudden he stretched and stood straight up, watching something to the left and then the attack began. Bullock's Orioles constantly mobbed the fledged young, a few sequences in the book. I wrote in the preface,"Their (Bald Eagle) designation by Congress as the official symbol of the fledgling United States of America in 1782 was protested by Benjamin Franklin who pointed out that Bald Eagles often flee from tiny mobbing songbirds." Yep. On the second attack, he turned tail to escape this vicious assault...

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Two Peregrine Nests

On the way back from the Ohrmanns I stopped at two Peregrine territories and the first, those huge cliffs on the south side of the highway just before Drummond.  I circled one of the adults and they might nesting in the hole just above. They were in there a few years ago but move around, so as to confuse falcon-watchers. The second shot is two three-week-old chicks being fed by the father, the nest we call Bearmouth. This one is just fairly recently active, and please, don't look for it at 75 mph.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Ohrmann's Today

With Bill and Phyllis and John in Drummond and their raccoon friend by the gallery:

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Pretty Little Waxwing

I got this photo and on the way home checked the mail to find this note from a Raptor Backer that had just received a thank-you photo of our Aplomado Falcon. Dr. Lynn Leverett of Florida was a guest at the Sibley Workshop at Pine Butte, and wrote, "Thank you so much for the picture of Sonora. Gorgeous! Walking down the hall to the study just now I counted 10 paintings of pelicans, one Little Green Heron and a Snowy Egret. Sonora will certainly join my collection and adorn our wall." What fine company!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Bald Eagle Update

I finally made it back to the beach to visit the eagle nest, and probably lost a pint of blood each trip thanks to the mosquitoes. Unbelievable swarms and unbearable in the evenings especially. So the one chick is exercising and climbing around nest tree, but I wager she won't fledge for a few weeks yet. I could be wrong...

Monday, June 23, 2014

Junior Zoologists Reunion

My great friend from the Cincinnati Zoo Junior Zoologists Club, circa 1973 (!) came for a visit over the weekend on her way to Glacier NP. Myra Messick and son Reed had a way-too-brief stay at the Raptor Ranch, and we recalled all of the experiences that changed our lives, thanks to zoo Education Director Barry Wakeman. He had us doing wildlife rehabilitation, education, taxidermy, and illustration of their publications as teenagers. Myra is a fantastic painter and I was into pen and ink drawings. Barry even had us doing interviews for the television stations and took 20 of us to Kenya, East Africa in 1974 for a safari and insect collecting expedition.  Talk about a lifetime influence and mentor, it was Barry Wakeman who sadly passed a dozen years ago. Here we are, and we look exactly the same as back then...okay, add 40 years.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Whole Gang

The final products after a week of rigourous research and construction...HA! Here are the kids in front of the giant metal Wooly Rhinoceros by Bill Ohrmann at the Missoula Art Museum. You can see several Golden Eagles, Saw-whet-Owls, a Harris's Hawk, Red-tail, American Kestrel, and Rocky Mountain subspecies male Peregrine Falcon. Plus we had our our first mounted Bald Eagle head and extinct Archaeopteryx. What a fun group, and I promised surprise inspections over the next few years to make sure they still had their paper mache sculptures in their bed rooms at home.

Friday, June 20, 2014


Seven foot wingspan! Birds And Art last day, so very cool.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mache Day

The kids at the Missoula Art Museum chose their species, built their bodies, and "goop" galore with paper mache birds built today. Artist/Instructor Bev Glueckert oversees construction of two Saw-whet Owls and one Harris's Hawk. Below young artist point at their "ugly birds" placed on a big tarp to dry overnight, flipped over by Bev tonight in a heroic gesture. Wait 'till you see them tomorrow! Painted, feathers, googie eyes, pipe-cleaner talons and a week well-spent. Sculptors and sculptures will be photographed for the traditional group shot, to be featured in Time Magazine. Maybe.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

MAM Rules!

Our 15th or so year of Birds And Art at the Missoula Art Museum, and all new students for a week of sketching live birds, then making paper mache life-size raptors! And one dinosaur, but birds are dinosaurs after all. The greatest kids yet, but we say that every year.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Baby Screech's

While at Mom's in Missoula, I have a morning project of trying to photograph this family of Western Screech-Owls at a friend's house west of town. This of all three was literally a point-and-shoot into the shadows and lucked out. Both parents are always nearby, or perched all together. Cracks me up, and back at it later.

Sunday, June 8, 2014


Nearly all swallow nests have fallen off the garage eaves, what a sad discovery. Only six remain, those fastened to Johnny D's little rail installed ten years ago; dozens are now crumbled mud on the ground, bummer. Here one is feeding his mate and the other has a mouth full of mud. And the worst news is my 80 year old mother, Sally has had an accident and I have been caring for her, switching off with sister Betsy, and will be out of touch for a while. Surgery tomorrow so wish her the best of luck and recovery from two broken bones.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Pine Butte Guest Ranch

More photos from Pine Butte: Miles the Great Horned Owl and Alisa the Red-tailed Hawk posing, Sonora eating a quail in the front. Below: David spots a Black-bellied Plover at Freezout Lake, a first in our years of workshops. He ID'd a Goshawk that was a mile away before he even had his binoculars to his eyes, I swear... 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

David Sibley Birding Workshop

Just back from the Rocky Mountain Front and our eight year in a row with field guide guru, David Sibley. The Nature Conservancy hosts at Pine Butte Guest Ranch, heaven on earth. This year a surprise guest that David identified while she was still in the car and hood on her head! I never thought the Aplomado Falcon would be this well-behaved and sure made me proud, along with Alisa, Miles and Owen the Owl. He even made a sketch of our star, and I forgot to ask to have it, darn it. In the background -  reflection of the mountains in  the window, and proud new owner of Falcons of North America. And I am the owner of the brand new Sibley Guide to Birds Second Edition, signed by the man. Get a copy today!

Monday, June 2, 2014


This mother merganser and two chicks were cruising the Bitterroot River flood waters last night, searching for calmer waters no doubt.
 I posted a way-too-dark version on Facebook last night, and wish I hadn't!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Thanks, Raptor Backers!

Thanks to our Backers for another great party at Bayern Brewing last night. This was our fifth year, and once again we cleared a couple thousand dollars to help defray the costs of keeping our Teaching Team comfortable. Little Sonora was perfect, even eating a quail for some kids. Now, I'm working on  my PowerPoint for our eighth annual David Sibley Birding Workshop on the Rocky Mountain Front tomorrow. Of course I want to bring Sibley the Peregrine but she just laid her 13th (!!!) egg. A record. Maybe Ansel will come, and he once befuddled the birders and Mr. Sibley as far as species identification. Peregrine? Yes! Gyrfalcon? Yes! Everyone's a winner.