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.