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.