Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Sib and Bald Eagle

Sibley was way across a field today in a snow squall, spotted this Bald Eagle and flew around to chase it from behind for a while. Neither seemed to care and it looked like just in play. The eagle barely looked back, a pesky little falcon with a bell on one leg.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Front Page News

Our friend Perry Backus wrote this great story about iPod, and what a headline, On a wing and a tail!
Check it out:

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Critters

Today at One Horse Creek. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Frontier Airline's Ferndale Airbus!

I was literally leaving the house this afternoon to do our Montana Public Radio program when this showed up! iPod on 19 planes for now and 100 more soon - Press release:
DENVER – Frontier Airlines added a new Airbus A321 to its fleet this week featuring a Northern Pygmy-Owl named Ferndale on the aircraft’s tail. Frontier received this fourth A321, part of an order of 19 total aircraft, earlier this week.
University of Montana Alumni Kate Davis, founder and director of Raptors of the Rockies, said, “Being an aeronautics enthusiast myself, this is the greatest tribute to our tiny predator iPod - to be honored in a 20 foot tall painting on an aircraft tail!”
Ferndale joins 60 other animal tails featured in the airline’s fleet. Ferndale the Northern Pygmy-Owl is inspired by Raptors of the Rockies own iPod the Pygmy-Owl who is used in educational speaking engagements about Raptors in the Northern Rockies region and named after Ferndale, an area where the Northern Pygmy-Owl can be found in Montana. The Northern Pygmy-Owl can also be found in areas of Western Colorado, the home state of Frontier Airlines, as well as other parts in the Western U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Montana Public Radio tomorrow

Wait until you hear this story tomorrow on Pea Green Boat, Montana Public Radio! We always finish up the year with a guest appearance by Sibley the Peregrine and ringing her bells over the airwaves. But tomorrow an amazing story about our Northern Pygmy-Owl, iPod and his part in the new fleet of Frontier Airlines' largest new aircrafts. He was the guest for a program at CEO's home Bill Franke in Ferndale along with three other Teaching Team birds, and inspired this original line of airplanes because Pygmy-Owls are the greatest predators out there, pound for pound or gram for gram.
What a story - iPod appears on the tail section of the new jetliners! (Not this photo, promise.)
Streaming live on  http://mtpr.org  from 4-5 pm or left of the dial on FM.


Sunday was gorgeous and sunny, and every Northern Harrier in the valley must have been having a convention. They were everywhere when Jay and I were flying our Peregrines, even on the attack mode which I haven't seen very often. We also spotted this Great Horned Owl on a old deer blind up in a tree, and here is one of the half dozen Bald Eagles that were hanging with the harriers. Still fun to "take the hawks for a walk."

Friday, December 18, 2015

Flash From the Past

I was at the Florence Post Office today on my way to fly Sibley, accompanied by the dogs in the Subaru. When I came back outside, the UPS truck was parked next to me with the driver staring in the car window. He asked, "Is that a hawk in there?" and told him that it's a falcon. Without missing a beat he asked, "Do you still have that eagle?" It turns out Roy had seen an assembly at Hellgate Elementary School when he was in third grade, so I informed him that Max is 26 years old now. Roy thanked me for sticking with it, an experience at the school he promised he would never forget. Here's Max about 20 years ago, and sure made my day, and perhaps year!

Thursday, December 17, 2015


We have an ever-growing flock of House Sparrows living in three bushes in the yard and under the eves of the garage. Funny thing, their favorite hangout is the bush in front of Sibley's enclosure and more than one has made the mistake of slipping through the wire to be devoured by a falcon. What a way to go. I have accidentally spilled some bird seed here in the driveway in hopes a Merlin or Sharpshin might show up. House Sparrows = non-native bird = food.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Snowing in the 'Root

I was "shooting" the Peregrine in the snow today looking for a Christmas card photo to post next week. And below - yesterday's teamwork! Sib and Mookie (digging up a vole no doubt.)

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Across the Street Today

Completely missed some pheasants, oh well.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Raptor Round-Up #49

Here it is and just in time, thanks Webmaster Steve Palmer for posting. I got about 100 in the mail today  and the rest tomorrow, but see it here first in living color:

Monday, December 7, 2015


Jay's formally-wayward falcon after the ducks:


Saturday, December 5, 2015

Omnipresent Eagles

The Bald Eagles seem to be by their nest nearly all the time lately, a photo from the deck the other morning at dawn-ish.  If we can't spot them from the house, we hear them all day. That's the nest tree and I've seen some others perching on the favorite snag nearby. Working on the new Raptor Round-Up Newsletter and hopefully in your mailboxes late next week, and on the web. Of course jazz on the stereo and lots of Mekons and James CD's (rock!)

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Tomorrow -First Friday!

Check out my new photography exhibition at Blacksmith Brewing in downtown Stevensville tomorrow! Here are all new (mostly) photos and all taken (mostly) within ten miles of the brewery. I'll be there for First Friday and the show will be up all month. See you there, and it will be quite the evening with a parade and extravaganza on Main Street.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Just Before Those Shots...

...Were these. Again, click on the images and check out that second one!

Theft Above

Yesterday when I was walking into the house with the camera and falconry gear I saw a battle high up and in the distance. The photos revealed the adult Bald Eagle stealing something from the younger one!  Thieves, I tell you, looks like a not-quite-fully-mature adult with a dark tip on his tail - probably four years old and not one of "ours" from the back yard.
Click on the photo to see the sequence:

Monday, November 30, 2015


A duck a piece, the first is Sib's hen mallard in the snow. Then Jay's Peregrine Ki caught a mallard on the ice of a pond, and I volunteered to crawl out and retrieve her. Jay got this snapshot with my camera after Ki jumped up for a quail and I stashed the duck in my vest. Delicious with the right duck recipe!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Still Negative 8 Degrees!

The last three nights we have had some house guests, namely the Queen of the Roost, Sonora the Aplomado Falcon. This desert bird would surely be uncomfortable outdoors, despite her heated perch and heat lamp. Here she is on her primary perch on the bookshelf about to go back out for the day while we fly the Peregrines…when it warms up a bit. I love Sundays!

Friday, November 27, 2015


Birds currently in the house are the Aplomado, Peregrine and Pygmy-Owl with negative 8 degrees this morning. It has warmed up to zero, so Sib will spend the day outside but no flying. Here are some Tundra Swans at Lee Metcalf refuge down the road yesterday with Snowbowl Ski Area looming in the background to the left.
On a sad note, we had to euthanize our old American Kestrel, JayDub, 15 years of age. He had taken a bad turn health-wise and a hard decision but had to be done. We'll miss JayDub, who had many appearances on Montana Public Radio, chittering for the listeners.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

3 p.m.

The promised blizzard today and glad I got home from town before dark, whew! Also happy to have installed the plastic wind breaks on several hawk and owl buildings, then even more when I got home. Here is a peek from the window at my desk, my view all day and for a while coming up, a winter scene. Birds inside tomorrow night with zero-ish temperatures predicted.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Saturday Moon

Friday the two Bald Eagles were perched here in their nest tree from noon until dark, reported Tom. Yesterday I hoped they would repeat their performance but just got this shot of the moon, tree in the foreground. Recognize those limbs that the eagles love so much to the left?

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Couldn't Resist!

Raptor Winner, Tempe Regan

Our friend Tempe Regan won the Anderson Award at the Raptor Research Foundation Conference, the greatest honor and should open doors for life! Her Master's degree project at Boise State is on Barn Owl mortality on an Idaho roadway, hundreds of winter and fall nighttime surveys last year which are heroics in itself if you ask me. Her paper presentation was fascinating and very well received, considered the best among the students applicants. The William C. Anderson Memorial Award was established in 1982 in memory of Bill Andersen, who drowned in 1980 while canoeing in Manitoba during a Peregrine Falcon survey. Here is Tempe accepting the award from Gary Santolo, and below her presentation. Remember Tempe from last year's Newsletter and blog? She told me this story at the Texas RRF Conference: 
“You came to my school in Superior, Montana when I was 9 years old. I remember you standing there with a bird on your arm and being in awe and thinking I want to do that!” Yep, Feb. 21st 1996. I am so proud of you and Way To Go, Tempe!

Thursday, November 19, 2015


Look at this deer in my mom's front yard in Missoula today! Tame as a cat, as our friend Nick would say.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Sibley Today

Weather forecasts say huge winds today so Sib was out just before noon, and exactly as she left the car the winds kicked in. But nothing like as promised, so far. Hurricane force on the Rocky Mountain Front, hold on to your hats.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Ohrmann's Weekend

We enjoyed a great visit with John and Phyllis Ohrmann Saturday, and were allowed to see many "new" woodcarvings that Bill made, unveiled for the first time in decades. Below is John's dragonfly sculpture with Bill's 12 foot Wooly Mammoth, the greatest art piece in the world if you ask me. It was this sculpture that peaked my interest in welding, and Bill was my tutor starting in 2004. He sadly passed at age 95, just two weeks after the open house last year, and is very much missed. But we could feel his presence and imagine his wry smile... all around.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Ohrmann Museum Open House

See you at the Bill Ohrmann Gallery and Museum, "Usually Open" and this weekend the Open House. Just 2 1/2 miles south of Drummond on Scenic Highway 1 on the way to PBurg. John and Phyllis  promise a big event, with some wood carvings and paintings that haven't been exhibited in years. No doubt, "Something to offend everyone…"  HA! See you there 11-5 pm today and tomorrow. I'll be there this afternoon taking pictures with my Lumix.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Merlin Flights

Sunday after the conference Nick Dunlop and I paid a visit to his friend, falconer Keith Richman and spent several hours in the field with his two Merlins and Peregrine. While waiting for the rain to let up over coffee, we heard about a wild Merlin that Keith had seen the last four years. She would spot him and his truck and dog and follow along as he flushed sparrows, just like  a trained bird. We lucked out and "Freebird" showed up mid-morning, just a Keith had described and now her fifth year with this routine! She "waits on" flying high overhead, responding to vocal and hand commands, and caught this House Sparrow, photo by Nick. What flights with his birds, and who would believe our luck. Thanks for the hospitality, Keith!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Back from Sacramento!

What a Raptor Research Foundation Conference! This will be a hard one to top, with over 400 attendees, 150 scientific papers and 50 posters. What a slick event thanks to our hosts the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory in Sausalito by the big bridge, Allen Fish director. Hopefully he can relax now, but from my experience in hosting the 2008 conference, it will take a week or two. First photo is the Madison Conference 50th anniversary panel - Jeep Pagel moderator with Tom Cade on the screen. This was the beginning of the conservation movement, banning pesticides that were killing off several species, namely the Peregrine, more on that soon. And my pal Gary Santolo, Chairman of the Awards Committee and our fine selection of raptor beers. I have officially retired as Conference Committee Chair and will be a tourist at the next one in Cape May, NJ in October 2016. Yippee!

Monday, November 2, 2015

See You In Sacramento!

Off to the Raptor Research Foundation Conference in Sacramento tomorrow with a flight at 6:10 am. So feeding the birds with a flashlight at 3:30 am, whew. In the meantime, Bill Harley RULES with his stupendous concert yesterday and programs today at Bonner Elementary school. How can you jam-pack so much fun in one week?! A rainbow as I was leaving for the concert yesterday and the eagles, and news from the road if I can figure out how to do that.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Bill Harley's In Town!

Our singer/songwriter/storyteller hero Bill Harley will be performing at the Dennison Theater on the U of M campus tomorrow at 2 pm, and a few tickets are still available. Here is a photo of Bill holding Sibley the Peregrine, circa 2009! He has been performing for 35 years now and does he have some yarns that I can relate to. We are his biggest fans in Missoula thanks to Marcia then Annie playing lots of his recordings on MTPR Pea Green Boat and the Childrens' Corner.  AND his a Grammy winning CD/DVD was recorded in our very theater in 2007, "Yes to Running!"I always try to interject a little Bill Harley into my raptor programs. Always.