Saturday, December 31, 2016


Friends! News from the ranch - husband Tom has been in St. Patrick Hospital for the last five weeks, three in the ICU and finally home. Praying for recovery from a rare autoimmune disease and for kidneys to function. Dialysis in the meantime.  
So as an end-of-the-year photo, a cottontail in the snow today after flying Sib the falcon at One Horse Creek, first time in over a month, whew...What a year.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Michael Peterson Trial Story in Audubon

No Fake News here, this is absolutely true and featured in Audubon on line. I became involved in the case in 2008, my affidavit submitted in 2010, The Owl Theory. Michael Peterson was in court last week and was asked to plead guilty (again), no way, so the saga continues. Watch "The Staircase" from Sundance and on Netflix, the original trial. Now, something that will go even bigger.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Here's a New One

A woman contacted me about bringing her kids over and adopting a bird. Our Adopt A Raptor program is especially popular around the holidays, as people "give" birds as gifts. The sponsorship pays for maintenance and the proud "parents" get a matted photo and description of the bird since in our care. Annie Garde, our best pal at Montana Public Radio just adopted Evita the Swainson's Hawk below. Plus it's tax-deductible! We were anxious to match a grant so I wrote the woman back,  to discover the kids are tiny toddlers and she said, "First, I was hoping to get advice on structures, upkeep, if there are any special medical requirements for the birds before moving forward." She thought she would take a few pet owls home with her, I guess. Nope.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Two Kinds of Etchings

My "Belted Kingfisher" drypoint etching was accepted in the Missoula Art Museum Auction 2017, Saturday February 4th. I am exploring this "safe" kind of printmaking after years of etchings starting back in the 1989 under the tutelage of Don Bunse at U of M. A waxy ground is painted on a zinc plate, lines are drawn through with a needle, and the exposed metal is etched with several baths in nitric acid. The ground,  "aquatints" of spray paints, and ink is removed with solvents. This isn't the healthiest of materials and chemicals. Now I am busy with drypoint etchings, the printing press installed upstairs over the garage. It's lines and dots incised on plastic and water-based inks you can wash off in the sink! Thanks to artist Bev Glueckert for turning me on to plastic.  The top pieces are monoprints, the zinc plates inked up and colored inks rolled over the top before running through the press - one-of-a-kind print. The Osprey on the left was accepted in the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Birds In Art Show, the greatest of accolades, and kingfisher in the MAM Auction, twenty-three years later!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Seattle from the airplane on Thursday on my way to The Peregrine Fund. Lots of new skyscrapers going up or working on the ones already there, judging from the dozen or so cranes I spotted. Sort of like the new seven-story bank under construction in Missoula!
And the amorous eagles back in February. They have sure been hanging around the nest site lately, screaming their heads off. I wonder where their chicks end up in the winter? Up or downstream, somewhere.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Pagels Visit

My great buddy jeep Pagel from Albuquerque came by for a visit yesterday with is son Shale and a surprise girlfriend. Jackie it turns out is the daughter of my pal back in college, Kate Lugar! Twins, practically, of Kate in her 20's. What fun. Jeep is my friend from the Raptor Research Foundation that edited my Falcons of North America book, and here he is pointing out the "tomial tooth" on my Gyrfalcon sculpture, how accurate, Kate (Davis.) I promised to take Shale and Jackie to the Ohrmann Museum and Gallery in Drummond to see the work of the Master and Mentor, Bill Ohrmann.Plus the kestrels, Ella and Wes, soaking up the sun.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

PFund Condors

This is the impressive new California Condor trail, 26 life-size condor sculptures representing the last ones remaining in the wild before they were captured for propagation and re-introduction. California Condors are the banner species for using non-lead ammunition for hunting. The BNA account states, Alternative non-toxic ammunitions, such as copper bullets, serve as excellent alternatives to lead ammunitions, and removal of lead ammunitions can also be expected to have significant health benefits. For condors and anything that consumes the meat, including hunters themselves.

Our Old (New) Friends

More from The Peregrine Fund program: Small world, and it turns out Lisa Kern on the left was a Junior Zoologist at the Cincinnati Zoo the same time I was! She is several years younger, and you know how that is when you're in middle and high school - the caste system for kids. Apparently, Myra, Cathy Jo, Leslie and I wouldn't give the younger zoologists in the club the time of day. I sort of remember that... Lisa and Nancy Caspersen are the proud owners of Falcons of North America, the last copy as it is now out of print. We had a lively auction after the presentation to raise money for the PFund education program. Nancy said, "Your show is supreme and your passion contagious…and you are REALLY FUNNY!!!!"  Thanks, friends.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Back From Boise Just Barely

My trip to The Peregrine Fund speaking engagement started with major fog delay/connection problems on Thursday morning and ended with a deer bouncing off my car at 12:30 last night. In between I had one plane cancellation (Alaska Airlines) because their crew had exceeded the hours they were allowed to fly. So eight hours in the Seattle airport yesterday, but ran into an old friend Ken Siebel. Chatting made the eight seem like just five hours.... A total of 17 hours in airline mode over two days. But I'm home and an unbelievable program at TPFund, a sold out crowd and big Powerpoints, first of the "Raptors at Risk" photo winners, then mine of birds and kids and programs and books. Plus some brand new river shots. The greatest part was that hero PFund founder Tom Cade was in attendance, a huge honor all around.  Whew.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Omnipresent Eagles

Lately both eagle adults have been hanging in the nest tree, usually earlier in the day than when I head down. This time change is throwing me off and it's dark now when I would just be starting my vigil.
SO see you at The Peregrine Fund tomorrow for the big PowerPoint - 120 "slides!" Can hardly wait.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Saturday, November 5, 2016

TGI Friday

A frosty fall morning with the pigeons landing on their building.  Then Sibley at an assembly for Clinton Elementary School, our old stompin' grounds for 13 years - where it all started back in 1988. We packed the gym with students and the community, the electronic billboard outside exclaiming 11/4/16 2:00 pm - Join us for Raptors of the Rockies Assembly! We had Alisa the Red-tail and two owls, but Sib was the Star. When I was talking about flying her every day starting in September, I asked the kids, "Why does she come back?" A 2nd grade girl said that it was because she likes me. Awwww...

Friday, November 4, 2016


This time both dogs flushed some pheasants and Sib chose this one. She came down from some good height then chased it - looked like she grabbed it from underneath! Thanks great neighbors, the DeNeves. Ginny has promised some pheasant scaloppini if Sibley catches a few more.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Sib and Crags

Sibley the Peregrine zipping around yesterday and an assembly tomorrow at Clinton Elementary School - the second place I ever had a program, back in 1988. Haven't been there in at least 15 years, maybe longer and I will look it up. Plus the Kootenai Crags across the road, fall colors. Nice.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Eagle! And Kid!

My cool nephew Zach Phillips found this photo of a 6 or 8 year old Kate learning her way around a camera from her dad. My father Carlos Phillips was an expert in this craft and taught me at a young age to appreciate the natural world and the art of film. His hero was Ansel Adams and he shot black and white with a darkroom in the basement. Dad was my hero, absolutely. And this eagle is what you can create 50 years later, with digital and still loving the out of doors. Thanks for making my life everything that it is today, starting as a little kid and trusting me with a camera!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Last 'O the Leaves

It looks like the aspens near Sib's playground hit their peak red colors when I was at the conference, but caught some photos just before they dropped. I love this little grove of trees and not as easy as you would think, photographing root-bound subjects. I have a hundred shots from the last three years, just ask my Mom and sister - that's what they get for Christmas! And here was Sib taking a break after chasing a pheasant that dove to the ground right as she was going to grab it. She sailed right over the top and looked at her feet like a baseball player that thought he had just caught a fly ball...but hadn't.  Go Cubs!

Saturday, October 29, 2016


After I said I wouldn't stand there for hours photographing an eagle perched in a tree, I did just that tonight. Sixty shots and lots of fun.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Women Heroes

Katie Harrington and Becca McCabe of the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary had the near-impossible task of topping the Raptor Research Foundation Conference last year in Sacramento, and they pulled it off. They got the notion of a plenary panel called "Women in Raptor Research: Trailblazers and the Next Generation," and take a look at who they chose! We heard a little history from each and their thoughts on the future for women in the field, both literally and figuratively.  That's Katie and Becca behind our speakers and sure made me proud.

Banquet Sunset

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Grand Finale

At some point in the Raptor Conference I drew this little hawk head which was spotted by David Sibley when he arrived Thursday night. He emailed -"I just walked into the Grand Hotel at Cape May and saw your "mark" on the whiteboard. You must have been here for the RRF meeting, are you still around?" Sure enough we met up the next morning and I helped him sign the official conference painting that he made, raptors circling the lighthouse. Framed and on the wall now. On the beach he pointed out the migrating lines of scoters, which I had assumed all this time were cormorants, oops. Here he is with Dr. Tom Cade, a Hero-Fest in New Jersey! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Etta Hui is COOL!

Back in 2008 when Raptors of the Rockies and U of M hosted the Raptor Research Foundation in Missoula, I received an email in broken English. It was from Etta Hui in Hong Kong and she was having trouble joining RRF, so I just sent a check and signed her up. She is a Black Kite biologist and educator, Hong Kong so very different than Montana. Etta arrived at the conference a bit early so I drove her around the campus. Grizzly football was in practice mode, so I rolled down her window and had her shout "Go Griz!" in her little voice and she repeated it every time I saw her during the week.  She gave me a set of gorgeous cloisonné owls that I have treasured here in the office. Fast forward 8 years and she gave me these new owls in Cape May. Etta had gifts from China for all of her friends, and I gave her a pack of my 35 greeting cards and envelopes, and bet you ten bucks they will never be mailed. Thanks pal, Etta!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Peregrine Fund PowerPoint

I had the extreme pleasure of riding the shuttle back to the airport Friday with the founder of The Peregrine Fund and all-time hero Dr. Tom Cade. With a captive audience I decided to run my Powerpoint by him to see his reaction which was fantastic - even a little video of Sonoreo the Aplomado.  This was the slide in question: leave it in or take it out, and the vote was thumbs up. This was a program for sponsored by the Chamber with cocktail hour courtesy the gals from Hooters. The other passengers also approved, Kevin Corwin of Colorado, Oliver from Germany and Torgeir Nygard from Norway. Great conference and friends!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Peregrine Fund!

See you in Boise at the World Center for Birds of Prey Thursday, Nov. 10th!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

I'm Back!

What news on the way from the Cape May, New Jersey Bird Observatory and the 50th annual Raptor Research Foundation Conference. In attendance were Ian Newton, Tom Cade, David Sibley, a couple of hundred old and new tuned and going through the photos.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Raptor Research Foundation Conference

Up at 4:30 am tomorrow and flying to our annual conference, this time in Cape May, New Jersey - raptor migration capital of the East Coast. What a treat to not be Conference or Education Chair so planning on being a tourist. I'll try to figure out how to post a Blog or two, but I'm not very technically advanced. And a Black-chinned Hummingbird that has nothing to do with anything.

Book of the Month

The Trail 103.3 FM is partnering with The Book Exchange to bring you the Trail Book Club, a fun new outlet for you to share in your reading adventures!
This month we're enjoying "Birds are People, Too," by local author and bird expert Kate Davis.
Davis, author of 2011's "Raptors of the West", presents the magic of birds in this humorous new collection of photos.
Enjoy a discount on "Birds Are People Too" at the Book Exchange, and don't forget to share your experience on their Facebook page!
It's the Trail Book Club, sponsored by The Book Exchange.
Available from us, too!

Friday, October 14, 2016


The other night two Belted Kingfishers were all riled up, chattering and chasing each other all evening as I stood on the beach. They were racing around behind me in the slough and one showed his face at the river briefly for a snapshot. I just finished this etching of a female kingfisher, newly remodeled "studio" upstairs. I submitted this Artist's Proof in the Missoula Art Museum Auction and we'll see if it's accepted.I just started a Bald Eagle etching - plenty of reference material, that's for sure!

Thursday, October 13, 2016


I flushed a hen pheasant first, which brought Sibley the Peregrine back with us from her goofing off a quarter mile away. Now she was paying attention. Then Mookie flushed this one which she caught. Peanut the Golden Retriever missed the whole thing, as it is hard get her attention. She is 15 years old and deaf as a post, but one happy camper.
Last is Nigel, Max, and Sonny fall colors to the North and MPG Ranch across the river. I love this time of year.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A Stick?

One eagle was in the scenic snag and suddenly flew away to return with a stick, which he added to the nest. Just planning ahead I guess, about six months. Plus a snapshot of Sib bombing around yesterday and she's getting in shape with the daily exercise. Now, some ducks!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Four Year Old

I was bundled up in the cold wind on the beach last night, and still nothing going on for an hour. Happily this Bald Eagle showed up just before the sun dipped behind the mountains (which is at 6:08 now!) A big bird so probably a female, and standing in the nest tree for a while - could that be the young from 2012? She still has some dark feathers on her head and brown on the beak, plus dark terminal tips on all the white tail feathers. She was interacting with a magpie, seemed like old hat, and I left her perched over the eagle nest in the dark.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Same Kestrel?

I was just looking for a photo from the beach from last year and came across this kestrel attack. I'll bet you ten bucks that is the same kestrel that was riding the Bald Eagle fledgling's head from the Blog posted July 7th. Sure looks the same with those ratty feathers and ferocious look on her face. Fearless falcon! Sure not much happening on the beach lately and several evenings without a single photograph. Oh well, over now.

Sunday, October 9, 2016