Tuesday, June 30, 2015

More Youngsters from Yesterday

Top is a Peregrine nest, food delivery up the Blackfoot River. Then a Great Horned Owl that flew from a nest in an old building. It's actually just the stone remnants of the foundation, strange place for a brood of four chicks. Then two of the eagle fledglings were standing on the beach, the other one flew before I could get a snapshot. They were almost too close!

Fledglings Today

Sunday, June 28, 2015

One More

Big Day on the River

Two of the three chicks fledged yesterday, the first from the top of the tree at about 5 pm, and got the first two shots from our deck. The second one split and flew around to the east side of the tree at 7:30 after I got some shots of her with the moon in the background. That one might have gone back to the nest but the first one disappeared. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a big bird fly into the brush at the base of the tree and that might have been her. They'll be hanging around for a while, my evening ritual continues for now at least.

About to Bolt

Saturday, June 27, 2015


Time for the Missoula Community Access Television Filmmakers Camp for Kids! Ron Scholl (center in the hat) and I first started doing these camps in 1999 with the International Wildlife Film Festival, and a student film called "Underwing" won big prizes that year. In it, the narrator in a British BBC-type accent descibes the lives of Bobo and Miles the Great Horned Owls that "eat everything... raw!" Chesty the Harris's Hawk flew all over the place, up on the arbor and catching meat in the air. Great kids!

Friday, June 26, 2015

June 25

That was my prediction for the day of fledging for at least one of the nestlings. Wrong. All three stayed in the tree, but climbing around on the limbs by the nest. I love this Nikon D800 with the four crop modes. The bottom two shots are full frame, huge files at 38.3 MB each! Heavy on the delete for these especially.

Thursday, June 25, 2015


...perching together. Female on the left and kept moving down the beach because dumb old limbs were in the way. Actually scurrying upstream on a kind of steep gravel bank, hauling tripod with camera, probably not a good idea. I just needed to get that shot, "Stretching and Staring." Great rewards after three long people-days in a row.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Lucky Duck

Last night the male eagle took off from the nest and perched low in a tree on the bank. I had noticed a duck climbing up out of the river before and sure enough, that's what he was after. He swooped down just as the duck plunged back into the water! Maybe that's what they were eating last week and not a chicken. Benefit of the doubt-time. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Monday, June 22, 2015

Saturday Night Dance Party

Big activity Saturday with the chicks running and flapping, adult above. I'll bet the first brave youngster will exit the nest by the end of the week. Then a nice delivery of a footload of flesh of some sort. And young play tug-of-war with a mammal bone. I have seen them do that in this nest and the one in the Bald Eagle book. Three hours on the beach, can't believe I can do that...almost every night. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Montana Peregrine Institute

It's time for ledge counts (or lech counts as a friend thought I was saying.) In order to get an idea of Peregrine productivity we try to count how many chicks are in the nest, often downy heads peering over the edge or chicks running around a ledge. Jay Sumner thinks that this is usually easier than trying to keep track of fledglings flying all over the place. Here is his new English Setter Flash, learning the ropes of falcon monitoring. Congratulations Jay on your award - 2015 Montana Audubon Special Achievement Award, for your hard work and dedication to Peregrine conservation and management, 50 years and going strong!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Kestrels and Peregrines

These photos are currently circulating at The Peregrine Fund in Boise.

Thursday, June 18, 2015


Day four of the Raptors and Art Camp at the Missoula Art Museum and check it out! The paper mache birds were properly painted and adorned with feathers, some with pipe-cleaner legs and googlie eyes. Perhaps the best class yet (except for one student and you know who you are...ha!) Top photo is obviously a collection of owls, Peregrine and Martial Eagle. Then Bald and Golden Eagles with a Peregrine in the middle. I am so proud of our young artists, and remember kids - I am coming to all of your homes in two years to make sure you still have your raptor in your room.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Day Too (or Two)

Today we were joined by Sibley the Peregrine left, Alisa the Red-tail (right), plus Margo the Sharp-shinned Hawk resting in her travel crate for another morning at the Missoula Art Museum. The Boys were helping me unload Sib from the back seat of the Subaru. Check out the gorgeous Gallery below, fine artists every single one. Tomorrow...life-sized paper mache raptors and a bunch of Peregrines will be in the works, sounds like. Sometimes species change in mid-construction!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Day 1 at the MAM

Bev Glueckert and I tell the kids we've been doing this camp for 50 years, and at least one youngster informs us that we are "really old." However I think we have been doing it in some form or another for 20 years, Raptors And Art Workshop for Kids. Today we learned about owls, Miles the Great Horned circled standing on his perch on the left, Owen the Saw-whet on the right. Tomorrow- hawks and falcons then we start making our life-size paper mache sculptures!
By the way, there are a few spots still open for the Filmmaking Workshop for Kids next week with MCAT, filming at the Raptor Ranch Wednesday. For young videographers aged 9-13, another longtime camp with creativity in abundance.

Daughter/Father + Practice Flying

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Saturday Cornucopia

When I arrived last night it sure looked like one of the chicks had a big bird in her beak. A chicken? Our friend Gary across the highway where I photograph a kestrel nest told me that adult eagles have plucked poultry right out of his pens. Then several fish deliveries of pike minnow or suckers. The male actually took a big squirrel skin turned inside out from the nest and dropped it into the river, a little sanitation but hate to think of what it looks like up there. Look at those flies in the nest over the chicks. Big flies...the eagles should be thankful they have a very crummy sense of smell.

Friday, June 12, 2015

The 2011 Nest

I came across this photo from the nest on the Clark Fork that fledged four young, the subject of my book. Only twelve nests at the time had ever had that many young, and six were in Montana. The caption for this photo is: All four eagles await another food delivery in a rare moment of calm (and a rare moment with all four showing their faces at once.) That's for sure, and having the same problem with the three eagles in the Bitterroot nest this year.  -  Books available from me. Act now and get a free bookmark!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Calendar and Magazine

This shot has been seen a lot - the male eagle carrying in about a bale of hay last may. Top is a second later, and you can just see the female's beak on the far left. It appears in the latest issue of National Wildlife Magazine in an article called "Caught In the Act" by Mark Wexler, about breeding birds. Great issue!

Monday, June 8, 2015

You Ewes!

A ewe Bighorn Sheep and year-old offspring, shedding like crazy. They were checking us out at Wildhorse Island on Flathead Lake over the weekend, pal Barry's cabin and sister Betsy's birthday. What a celebration!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Tables Turn the Other Way

Last night it started as a stare down between the male kestrel and no doubt, the same harassing magpie. Then the falcon decided to be the aggressor, but the magpie won out chasing him off the snag. This happens all the time and I can't help but think it's inter-species good-natured fun between a couple of the brightest birds out there.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Cold Springs Elementary Super-stars!

You have to see it to believe it. A fairly recent enterprise for 4th graders is The Wax Museum, in which each student depicts "someone who made a difference in Montana" living or dead. In costume and with a set, these 22 students were Sacagawea, Myrna Loy, Chief Joseph, Evel Knievel...and Kate Davis. The youngster in the blue Raptors of the Rockies t-shirt is Jayden Skousen, complete with a falconry glove, stuffed birds and a live Bearded Lizard! They performed three shows in the Cold Springs gym yesterday for three groups each of students from the school, parents and guests. In an 8 minute memorized speech they tell the tale of their character with wild gesticulations and drama. Hey, it's a TED Talk for kids! I was blown away to say the least, and we hand it to teacher Beth Kennedy for pulling it all together. Jayden was charming and made me blush, as I hid behind my camera to watch her rendition of The Bird Lady. She finished with, "Hoot like an owl!"