Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Nice Clouds at Dark

I couldn't resist letting the pigeons out one last time. A few weeks ago a bunch of 2nd graders were here and their favorite part was letting the pigeons fly around. The birds go back in a one-way door after a while then time to let them go again, three times! I know they went home and told their parents, "We went to this lady's house and she had a bunch of white pigeons!" and forget to mention the eagles and owls and others...

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Saturday Night on the Bitterroot

The dogs and I headed to the beach in the late afternoon and didn't see another person which was perfect.  Everyone was eating aquatic insects, the Red-winged Blackbirds the Killdeer  while the Red-naped Sapsucker was exploiting the winged variety. I'll find the just-right photo of the Blackbirds pulling caddisfly larvae from the shallows - think of that next time you go to the store to buy some bird seed for the backyard feeder. Insect larvae. The Eagles were a-jumping in their nest and way too many photos to edit!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

It's Here!

Clocking in at just under one year from inception to delivery, the new book has arrived and looking great! I'm selling them out of the Subaru. The photo of Sonora even made the cover of the Mountain Press summer catalog plus a full page description inside on page three. I picked up a pile of catalogs  that I am mailing out with the book, a dozen in the mail yesterday to friends that helped with suggestions. My favorite is of course the review:
Kate Davis knows birds, and it s a riot to see that someone as knowledgeable and talented as Kate can t help but anthropomorphize the behaviors of these beautiful and wondrous creatures.
This book is a reminder of the beauty of the world, and that we have a kinship with all living things. Our ability to laugh at our condition is what makes us, and our avian friends, special. And hilarious. --BILL HARLEY, Grammy Award-winning storyteller, singer, author

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

One Thousand Six Hundred!

My 1600th educational program today, here at the Raptor Ranch! It was Missoula Community Access Television (MCAT) Young Filmmakers Workshop with Ron Scholl, a camp we first started in 1999. There's Sonora on the bookshelf, top photo with the kids are watching a film I made on the computer, then Sibley eating a quail in the living room. And everyone pointing at the Bald Eagle nest (except Ron.)  Ron remarked that at this rate I'll hit the 2000th program mark around 2023 or 2024, for an 
MCAT Camp!


The Red-winged Blackbird was still pestering the eagle, this time way up in the nest tree! (See June 5th and 6th.) Maybe the same bird, who knows?

Monday, June 20, 2016


Last night a young eagle landed over the nest and stayed for 20 minutes, no big deal to the chicks below. That might have been one of the sisters from last year, and she seemed pretty comfortable in the tree, preening and stretching. By my calculations, these two should fledge around July 9th, so we'll see if I'm close. Plus a coyote out hunting squirrels (one in the background) across the road.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Two More

I knew I missed two students in the gallery shots and here they are - a Barn Owl and Great Gray Owl, awesome!

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Creations

Here are the birds (and kids) in all their glory: Bald Eagle, Snowy Owl, Alisa the Red-tail, one carrying a fish, Owen the Saw-whet Owl coming of of his nest cavity, Osprey and Merlin.
More treats, including a Boreal Owl inspired by the new book by Jeff Marks, Birds of Montana, plus Sonora the Aplomado, the twins and two penguins celebrating their 8th birthday in class, and sisters with a big Bald Eagle. Thanks partner Bev Glueckert and helpers Beth, Paul and Betsy. Wow, the best class ever and can hardly wait until next year!

MAM Finale

We finished up with the sculptures at the Missoula Art Museum yesterday, eagles, hawks, falcons Merlin owls and one penguin.  Many more photos on the way, and finally posting as my dumb old internet has been out this whole time.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Eagle Female Last Night

A couple hours on the beach of quietude, but one landing sequence that made it all worthwhile.
And the Missoula Art Museum kids decorate their raptor sculptures tomorrow, the big day of the week-long workshop. One little girl started a trend of many turning their owls into penguins. We'll see, and kind of shaped the same - for a 7 year old paper mache artist.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

MAM Birds And Art Class!

The kids at the Missoula Art Museum summer camp drew our owls yesterday, today the Aplomado and Red-tailed Hawk and wow. There's the falcon in the background then our Gallery. Tomorrow - paper mache life-size raptors! Lucy Millar, age 8 with her Sonora portrait, and other colorful renderings -stellar!

Monday, June 13, 2016

What's Wrong With This Picture?

When Jack Kirkley and I drove by this Osprey platform near Wisdom in the Big Hole Valley we wondered if the Bald Eagle was just perching there or was eating baby Ospreys. On the way back I investigated and nope, she has a chick and what a surprise! I've never seen a Bald Eagle nesting on one of these, a strange sight in the sagebrush.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Big Hole Adventure

My long-time pal Dr. Jack Kirkley of Dillon invited me to try to photograph some birds in the Big Hole Valley yesterday, my annual trek. This time his spin was to cover me in cammo cloth near a Northern Goshawk nest then noisily walk back to the car. Birds can't count, so we would trick the bird and I could photograph to my hearts content hidden from view. He wrote, "The point would be to totally minimize your movements beneath that camo cloth, so you don't get "busted" by that bird.  If it sees any movement whatsoever, or hears you moving.... then it definitely won't come back to the nest, due to your detected presence." Well, it worked for about a half hour, then I slowly changed a setting on my camera and BUSTED. The cacking and flying right at me began! So I emerged from the cammo cocoon and shot a perched bird for another hour, at first hand-held then back on the tripod. What an adventure and thanks, Jack, The Goshawk Man.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Look at These!

Gesture drawings from Sally Friou's Sentinel High School Art Class. This was their finals, so get it right, kids, and they did. Big sketches of Sibley the Peregrine. Right on!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Dip in the River

Photographing the male, look who flew in but landed behind all those limbs. And the Male Northern Harrier that always flies overhead was bringing in an avian appetizer - looks like a baby crow or something. The feet aren't coot- or rail-like.

Monday, June 6, 2016

That Fish

Check out the fish that this eagle is carrying - looks like a brown trout that's been dead for a while. She flew off the nest snag in a big hurry and came back right away with this, probably floating by. A treat for the youngsters!

Sunday, June 5, 2016



Relaxing today after the big art show Friday, then Audubon Keynote address yesterday. Photos were flying off the walls at The Artists' Shop so adding different ones tomorrow. The show will be up all month. Then the birds were on there best behavior for the Auduboners - Nigel, Sibley and Jillian.
A happy Spotted Sandpiper, and heading to the beach tonight.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

First Friday and Audubon Festival!

Steve Thorstensen of The Artists' Shop just installed my 28 NEW photos and I told some onlookers to watch out this weekend - hundreds of people will be walking around with binoculars around their necks. It's the 17th Annual Montana Audubon Bird Festival here in Missoula and First Friday Gallery Night tomorrow starting at 5 pm. Check out all of the bird art from me, Robert Petty, Julie Chapman and others on North Higgins downtown between Front and Main Streets for the Opening. Then up all month!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Goodbye May

Here are the last shots for the rainy month of May - the two eagle chicks last night, and we could have one of each as far as gender. A flotilla of mergansers floated by, and another Bighorn Sheep photo. As my friend Mike Steinberg commented on Facebook: "And ewe were there!"