Friday, February 27, 2015

Good Ole Potomac

Potomac School has a Raptors of the Rockies visit every two years so we have to mix it up. Yesterday I discussed a Red-tail breeding season, Saw-whet Owl's food caching, aerial Peregrine hunt, and finished with page 2 of my TEDx Talk Jillian the owl on hand! These rural kids of the Blackfoot Valley have a real love of their outdoor surroundings and we hope to get a kestrel nest box installed near the school this spring. Speaking of TEDx, check out the photo gallery on Flickr from our Faithful Leader Jace Laakso, photos by Rafael Chacon and Slikati Photography. One week ago!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

2003 Owl

I've had some computer woes lately, the first is a Lightroom issue and not my Mac. I am currently going through tens of thousand of photographs and deleting doubles, triples and quadruples, and those that are just plain awful. Last night I found this detail photo of a sculpture I made that reminded me of our TEDx star, Jillian who was hooting just outside. Bill Ohrmann taught me how to weld in 2003 and this was the first piece I made on my own, 16 gauge steel and stainless eyes. Lots of people thought I made it out of circular saw blades which sounds dangerous. I am inspired to head out to the welding studio/garage and build an eagle, just like Bill's from back then. I actually sold this piece and bought a stuffed peacock for the living room as a treat. Always wanted a stuffed peacock.

Monday, February 23, 2015

TEDx Finale

Here is the group portrait at the finale of the TEDx Extravaganza Friday night. I am crouching behind the X on the right. Actually I was home putting Jillian back in her building with 6 nice mice for her and roommate Miles. What an experience, unlike anything I've had before, and proud to have been a part of it. Many thanks to the fine crew, coaches, volunteers, and audience for actually "hooting up an owl" for me at the end of my talk I called "Communication In the Dark." And my huge admiration to the fellow speakers, experts all and each of us nailed it! Plus you are wonderful, coach/pal Rafael! On Youtube in a few weeks...

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Nailed It!

We pulled it off, everyone did, the TEDx event Friday night. About 600 in attendance and the final speaker was Mayor John Engen, pictured here, photo by my coach extaordinaire, Rafael Chacon.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Green Room Jillian

Jillian was chilling in the Green Room last night, back stage at the Dennison Theater for TEDx Talk dress rehearsal. Her handler wasn't quite this relaxed... Join us at 4 pm today, tickets available at the door!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

There They Are

I haven't hauled the tripod and camera down to the beach in the backyard for a while, but couldn't resist last night. From the house, I saw one land in nest, probably adding material. Better grab the gear and the dogs! They don't seem too disturbed about the old Florence bridge destruction just upstream, like last year during new bridge construction, thank goodness. That's the nest on the lower right corner, and experimenting with higher ISO's lately (1600), for you photographers.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Come To Our TEDx Talks!

It's almost TEDx Talk day, dress rehearsal tomorrow (no, I won't be wearing a dress) and the real thing on Friday. It's at the Dennison Theater U of M campus starting at 4 pm. Join us for 17 speakers, fabulous dinner, short films and dessert. I'll be there with Jillian the Great Horned Owl, and take my word for it, you WILL hoot like an owl. I hope so at least.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Yesterday Afternoon

Sib flying back after chasing a nice Ring-necked Pheasant rooster right across the road. Love hunting in the neighborhood, thanks Ginny and Mike!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Here is a photo from a month ago, a Prairie Falcon in the snow at Hidden Valley in Florence. This week we had 62 degrees and broke records. A 60 degree difference from the same day last year when we had the bitter cold, deep snow, and avalanche that hit Missoula. You never ever know around here.

Monday, February 9, 2015


Yesterday's pheasant hunt and textbook teamwork - Rio and Mookie (but mostly Rio) flushed a hen pheasant that Sibley chased for a quarter mile off in the distance. I thought she caught it but couldn't find her on the ground or see her in the air. Jay and I got our telemetry receivers out and he was pointing my direction, I was pointing towards him. He found her in between us hunkered down in a narrow ditch plucking the pheasant. She pulled it in there to hide from three Bald Eagles and a bunch of Red-tails circling in the sky earlier, clever girl! Here I lifted her out of the ditch for some snapshots. This season for upland game birds goes until March 31st, but we never make it that long with all the resident wild raptors getting territorial and dangerous for or falcons. Still, the most fun we've ever had, and almost 7 months!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Pheasant for Dinner

My pal Joseph Dane of HawkWatch International posted this picture of Sib and a hen pheasant from last week on their Facebook page: "Anybody else having Pheasant for dinner tonight? Thanks to Kate Davis for sharing this great photo!" We are busy planning my trip to HawkWatch for the Great Salt Lake Bird Festival on May 14-15th. Thursday is Kestrel Night with my PowerPoint presentation. Friday has field trips exploring Kestrel Country, then an evening book signing with David Sibley, Jerry Liguori, and me. Hop in that motorhome and trek over for an awesome festival featuring kestrels (and David Sibley!)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


No, this word "imp" doesn't refer to a street urchin, but instead is a verb meaning to repair a broken feather. I just got this shot of Sib today and the arrow points to an important flight feather that was broken months ago. I hate to think of how such a central feather would be damaged and not its neighbors, and scares me to imagine her flying through a barb-wire fence. I've seen her do it, and the stuff of heart attacks. This feather was replaced with the identical one molted last year and saved for this purpose (on our federal and state permits, otherwise illegal to possess.) Jay and stuck a hood on her head, held her in my lap and used a sliver of bamboo from Good Cook Barbecue Skewers, 5 minute two-part epoxy, and voila! Fixed. An ancient trick of the trade.

Monday, February 2, 2015

One More

Jay and I had several flights with each of the Peregrines yesterday before the Big Game, and got this photo of the resident eagles of Corvallis.

Sunday, February 1, 2015