Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Two Stories

First, my friend Miguel Saggese just sent me the completed article he wrote for his home country Argentina Bird Society's 100th Anniversary Journal. Miguel just happens to be the President of the Raptor Research Foundation and used my photographs to illustrate his Osprey paper. He writes in a postscript: Agradecemos especialmente a Kate Davis por facilitarnos algunas de las fotografias. You bet.
And I was just doing a program today at a retreat for 50 people from around the U.S. and one woman told me she had owls nesting in boxes on her property. She wondered what were the sounds from the boxes that resembled a clock.  All I could figure would be the owls snapping their beaks - a clock.  I said, "Barn Owls, right?" Yes. "And you live in California, right?" Yes again. Then I went out on a limb. "And you are a Sagittarius." She shrieked, "How did you know that?!" I totally made that up and know nothing of astrology. True story, and will add it to my "material" in programs. HA!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Monday Missoulian

Our story by Perry Backus made the paper and is the the headline offering on the Missoulian email blast! Actually, Sibley made the headline. And below is the photo mentioned in the story for the caption contest. Photo credit for the bio shot is Jaime Johnson with Sibley up the Blackfoot, thanks!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Two Beaches

Yesterday we had a nice program for about 100 folks at Georgetown Lake, the Homeowners Association. I used to frequent the beautiful lake after work for fishing over three summers when I worked in Philipsburg doing timber stand exams in the Forest Service. There and Flint and Rock Creeks, we'd race out the door of the bunkhouse with our fly rods at quitting time. Then a magpie-Merlin fight at our beach. Merlins have no tolerance of any birds in their personal space, but this magpie just seemed to be teasing. After all, they are corvids, the smartest birds in the world (along with falcons!)

Friday, August 26, 2016


This same Osprey (sure looks like the same one) was posing last night and caught a Mountain Whitefish right in front of me. It was in the shadows so I had to lighten it way up in Photoshop and Lightroom, but it worked. Many anglers consider whitefish to be a lesser species but I think they are delicious. This Osprey has such immaculate plumage and no broken feathers or molt, unusual for this time of year. Dr. Erick Greene thinks he might be a three-year-old that skipped the hardships of breeding and hunting for a family.  A female Osprey even showed up, the first one I've seen down on the beach all summer. Young are fledging so with nest duties over, she'll have to get her own food from now on. Still waiting to see a young one...

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Better "Plunge" Shot

This one is better than the August 2nd photo because the sun was still up. He didn't score a fish on this one and headed upriver.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

More Up In The Air

Of course the Osprey attack was in the near-dark, but Rufous Hummingbird in the sunlight.
I started working on the next Raptor Round-Up Newsletter today, and know it will take the rest of the week to produce, then print at Pyramid Printers, fold, tape, address, stamp and little eagle face drawing on each one. I think I have some help form new board member Jennifer Manning this time, all but the raptor face. Stay tuned and out and on the web site soon.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Air Show

Sunday night was an air show, starting with some eagles, finishing with a Great Blue Heron and a female (columbarius) Merlin in between.Oh, and five kestrels in the dark.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Big Press

Our pal Perry Backus wrote this great story, in the Ravalli Republic yesterday with a great big photo by Jaime Johnson. Tough to choose just three photos and captions to be featured.
Plus another pal Joseph Dane posted my photo of the Bald Eagle with the kestrel riding on her face (July 7th Blog) on Facebook and 2617 "likes" and 951 "shares" so far! And the photo of the Bald Eagle, trout and blackbird (June 5th Blog) has been selected for the Peregrine Fund calendar this year, our other pals. Hopefully all this attention will sell some new books!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Still In the Shop

Beware of the virus Myppes that targets MacIntosh computers. We are in another bout of "cleaning" the main machine and I don't understand what kind of people send these out to ruin your life, or your data and greeting cards and photographs at least. Anyway, here is a photo by Dale Dufour from Wednesday's program at Travelers' Rest State Park. What a great group, familiar faces and new friends, and lots of new owners of the Birds Are People, Too book.
ps: A story about the book in the Sunday Ravalli Republic by Perry Backus!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Travelers' Rest Tonight

Catch a Raptors of the Rockies program tonight at Travelers' Rest State Park in Lolo right off Highway 12 West. I'll have four birds on hand in the campground, the same camp site as Lewis and Clark and the Corp of Discovery! 7 pm, a $5 donation to the Travelers' Rest Preservation and Heritage Association is encouraged, and bring a comfy lawn chair.  And check out what the Osprey caught down at the river two nights ago: a Largemouth Bass!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Request, Observation, and Question

First, I have a request - if anyone is coming to Missoula from Great Falls, could you haul over a load of bagged, frozen mice from the lab? You will be rewarded handsomely. The observation is that someone at Johnsrud Park informed us that the day before he had seen four Peregrines racing up and down the river, fine. Then they all started to eat a dead fish (!) and were joined by an Osprey (!!). A pelican showed up and swallowed the fish whole (!!!) Had me and lost me at the first exclamation point, and he was serious. Then a guy I knew 20 years ago came up and asked me, "What are those birds that follow you, you can hear them flying, then when you turn around they fly away? You know, this big (his hands a foot apart).They're brown...?" Unbelievable, the things people tell me. And here's an Osprey last night.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Happy 100th Birthday!

Happy Birthday to John Craighead, 100 years young today! He and twin brother Frank are the founders of American falconry, radio telemetry, and field research with groundbreaking books like Hawks,Owls, and Wildlife from 1956. They also documented their 1940-41 "Life With an Indian Prince" in a fascinating book and film. I found this photo from 2005 and wrote about this hawking experience in the intro to my book Falcons of North America. While flying Sibley in the Bitterroot, I wrote: "what a huge honor to have our guru, mentor, and hero present." Absolutely!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Eagle Egos

Quite the action right at dark, as one fledgling stood in the snag begging and was joined by the adult male with a fish in one foot, where they stood for about 15 minutes. Then in flew a year-old eagle, probably an offspring from last year and a fight ensued. First she jumped up to the young bird, then chased the adult, who dropped the fish then chased her all through the trees across the river, around and around. The one thing that tipped me off that the visitor was an older bird is that she threw her head back and tried that Bald Eagle "chirping whistle" call, something they don't master until they are three or four years old and not four months. Then all must have been forgiven because there she was in the morning with the two fledglings standing on our eagle building, begging. HA!

Thursday, August 11, 2016


You will never guess what happened yesterday. My Mac computer suffered a deadly virus and was thankfully cured by our friend Nick at Computer Guys in Missoula. Three trips back and forth to town from Florence, and a new scary thing called Myypes, so beware. No one is safe from these bad guys and weird to not have a computer for a day. But I don't even have a smart phone and can't text. A nice cloud shot tonight, anyway, with the little Nikon Coolpix.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

What a Poser

More of the Belted Kingfisher Sunday night. Nutin' last night other than some big begging eagles. And one Osprey fight right over my head as I was leaving in the dark

Monday, August 8, 2016


Just two of them but playing and hunting and rattling up a storm last night. I had my sister Betsy and pal Ginny DeNeve down on the beach with me Saturday night and not a single photo. Okay a couple. But last night hundreds and this was one that stood out. More on way! Crazy light...

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Hummers and Falcons

And Ospreys and eagles. First, a snapshot of a female Rufous Hummingbird posing. Strange but I haven't seen a single adult male Rufous or Calliope. Then the young eagle was hanging out and chased this Osprey that caught a fish right in front of me. Strange as I have never seen a fledgling Bald Eagle try to rob an Osprey. And an American Kestrel family right at dark, strange that they weren't chasing anything at all!

Friday, August 5, 2016


We are in the greeting card business now, and the most popular by far isn't even a raptor - its the "Bitterroot Goldens" card! I tell everyone that there was a fifth dog but the stick was too short and here is the proof. This photo was taken with a little point and shoot a dozen years ago, our two dogs on the left and Pat Johnson and Kelly Brewster's on the right. All but the first Golden, Peanut, have since died. These cards are at Rockin Rudy's and The Good Food Store (and from us) and all proceeds to benefit Raptors of the Rockies. Thanks Pyramid Printing for the fine quality and friendly friends!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Montana Public Radio Day

It's time for our bi-monthly trip on the Pea Green Boat Children's (and Everyone Else's) programming on MTPR. Today it's Nigel the Golden Eagle's turn and he'll start out the hour of fun.We'll have some guest kids talking about the new Birds Are People, Too book, and finish up with Sonora the Aplomado Falcon. She was raised on the radio, her first show as a chick in a laundry basket three years ago. Join host Annie Garde and me today at 4 pm MST, left of the FM dial at 89.1 in Missoula and across the globe streaming at mtpr.org, hit "listen live" at the top of the page. See you on the radio!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Love Ospreys!

Osprey At Dark

I was down at the beach grabbing some eagle pictures when she flew off and nothing going on for over an hour. Then she returned, chased by an Osprey that landed across the river in the big snag. The light was nice with the last rays and smoke from wildfires making a strange tint. The split second (I swear!) the sun went behind the mountains the Osprey made his move. I quickly changed my ISO and got these, not tack sharp but what a pose! No fish this time and still in the tree when I left in the dark. A adult female Merlin also flew by and I wouldn't think they would be around this time of year, just fall through early spring. Still trying to get that Osprey/Eagle shot!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Roaring Lion Fire

OMG as they say, and I got these images from the Missoulian web site today, the fire south-west of Hamilton here in the Bitterroot is roaring and amazing. It started yesterday at 2 pm near the Roaring Lion trailhead and it blew up enough for them to close Highway 93, the major thoroughfare, by 5 pm.  Look at these gas balls high in the air and sadly a dozen homes have burned, 500 evacuees praying at this point. Bad news as a major "red flag" day tomorrow with low relative humidity and high winds on the way.  Last we heard it was 3500 acres and growing so let's beg for the weather predictions to be wrong and firefighters to work their wonders.