Thursday, September 29, 2016

Same Bird, Different Fish

Sib at the American Museum of Natural History

Our program and book signing at Shakespeare & Co. last Friday was one of the best of the year, and I met some new friends. One was Hila Chase, PhD student at U of M and raptor enthusiast. She informed me that a the video introduction to the "Dinosaurs Among Us" exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History in New York features Sibley the Peregrine! Click on the second film on the page and at 1:44 minutes, there's Sib filmed at 500 frames flying straight up 28 feet. Dr. Bret Tobalski invited us to try this in 2011 in the University Flight Lab Tower of Power and Sib was a pro. Then the BBC showed up in November 2012 and captured her at 1500 frames per second, 8 trips up the Tower. A thrill to see this footage in new display at the American Museum because after all, birds are dinosaurs, too.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Young Autumn Osprey

Zero photos for two evenings in a row (well a couple of ducks) and finally a young Osprey arrived and parked upstream in a ponderosa pine. She had a huge crop indicating she had just eaten and shouldn't be hungry. Instead she was hunting the whole time on on the second plunge, got this whitefish. Lots of great photos and will post more.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

What a Review!

I recently had a wonderful program and sold out all of the Birds Are People, Too books. I encouraged everyone write a nice review on Amazon. I even suggested what to write, one of my favorite lines from the old National Lampoon Sunday Newspaper Parody, 1978. Becky Tschirgi from California wrote: "Another fantastic book by Kate!!! I was fortunate to see Kate and her birds in person as she combined her knowledge of birds with her wonderful humor in an infectious manner. This book made me laugh until I stopped. :)"
The male eagle showed up Saturday evening, first I have seen him in weeks. Then zero photos on the next two trips, yawn...Not much happening at the beach lately, but still a great chance to relax. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Back To Back

Top is a Jim McShane snapshot from our Friday program at Shakespeare & Co. Books in Missoula, a packed house. I'm recounting the story of how I told a gal I had an Aplomado Falcon in my car and she swiped two fingers past her eye, Pulp Fiction-style, and said, "One of these?" Brilliant eye stripe imitation. Then a female Merlin scrapping with a magpie last night. Merlin falcons are tenacious, but it was the magpie that started it this time. Just goofing off I'm thinking.
Photos from the Stevensville Founder's Day Celebration yesterday on the way.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Welcome Autumn!

Now the good seasons...We're at Shakespeare & Co. Books today at 2 pm with Sonora the Aplomado Falcon, and tomorrow at Founder's Day in Stevensville with Sibley the Peregrine. It's the 175th anniversary of the meeting between missionaries and Salish tribal leaders, at the St. Mary's Mission - the first pioneer settlement in the state! Starting at 10:00 am with reenactments and exhibits. We're on stage at noon - a little discussion of Peregrine Falcon populations and recovery in the Bitterroot Valley. Something for everyone in historic Stevi.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Flying Sib every day now and was reminded of this shot from last December in a light snowfall, all in play. We drive across the road to One Horse Creek and no quarry to hunt, just some exercise for her, me and the dogs. And sometimes something to chase.
Join us at Shakespeare & Company on Friday at 2 pm until 3:15, for a PowerPoint entitled "Birds Are People, Too" and meet Sonora the Aplomado Falcon. Missoula's Hip Strip at 103 S. 3rd Street West. It's Montana Book Festival week and events everywhere!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Hatch Year OSPR!

My first hatch year (fledgling) Osprey of the season was last night. I was wondering where they were, but a quick review of the Ospreys 2015 file show the first one on Sept 22. They have been out of the nest for a while. How can you tell it's a juvenile Osprey? Look at the white edges on the dorsal feathers, sort a scalloped look. Plus the red or orange eyes. And my favorite - immaculate plumage! All those feathers have grown in over 50 days and aren't frayed or damaged...yet. It was weird light with black storm clouds to the east.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Beginning and Ending

Sibley the Peregrine's 14th season of falconry has begun - Upland and Waterfowl tags purchased, new batteries in the transmitters, a bell in one leg, and slowly dropping her weight a little by feeding her some chicken. She gets full and satisfied, but it goes right through her more or less. As she is still molting, we can't get too crazy about the diet. Those new feathers need nourishment to come in nice and strong. Plus the dogs began their happy barks when they saw the telemetry, falconry vest and camera installed in the Subaru. And some short visits and slow times at the beach, the beginning of the end of my photography evenings. Got this Bald Eagle last night just before dark. I might have to take up pool or gambling. Just kidding.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Butte, America

Just back from Butte, a quick 286 mile round trip and a fine program at the college. What an awesome campus, the historic mining district and will definitely head  back for a tour from my old pal Idamarie who knows all the cool haunts and views. We had a big Powerpoint and new photos, everyone's favorite was the kestrel riding on the Bald Eagle's face. Here are my new Saudi friends showing us photos of their falcons on their cell phones with Sibley on the left. Lots of Gyrfalcons flown in Saudi Arabia apparently, and one video of stoops on a houbara bustard, wow. I took that second shot as I was leaving and flipped it so you could read the Montana Tech, if it looks weird. Love Butte!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Osprey Versus Osprey

A beautiful female (I think) Osprey last night that had a little aerial dance with a second Osprey. No good shots of them both but that dive is fleeing an Osprey above and not toward a fish below. Then she swooped on a young Bald Eagle that showed up 5 minutes after dark, which by the way now occurs at 7:00 pm point zero zero.
See you all in the Mining City tomorrow for our big public program at the Butte Tech Auditorium, 4 pm sharp. Photos, birds, books, and snacks courtesy Dr. Stella Capoccia, Dept. of Biological Sciences.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Fact & Fiction

Book signing on First Friday with Sonora the Aplomado. And our friends at Fact & Fiction Books reported that the caption contest is complete:
Winners have been picked! 
Shellie Nelson won our Facebook contest with her caption: "I'm king of the world!" "Shut up, Leo."
Max Coplandes won in store with "You'll be a bald eagle when I'm done with you!"
Charlotte Gimpelson won our 12 and under category with "Is this a trap!?"

Sunday, September 11, 2016


The only photo I got Friday was a non-raptor Common Nighthawk catching insects over the river. We see fewer and fewer lately as they are migrating out. A nighthawk photo in my new book brought comments from at least two people. Steve Hoffman, Director of Montana Audubon writes in his Amazon review: My favorite photo is that of a Common Nighthawk, mouth agape, flapping toward an elusive flying insect. And another guest on a tour said he loved the one picture of the bird who's mouth looks like he's a fish. It took me a while, but I think he meant the nighthawk!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Eagle and Ad

Another eagle standing around Thursday night, and an adult female Peregrine, cool. She flew in like a flash, perched behind a bunch of limbs (like this eagle) and fled when I walked down to the water's edge trying to get a better angle. However, nothing last night and the sun goes behind the mountains at 7:07 pm now.
AND join us in Butte America on Thursday for a free Raptors program, Powerpoint of new photos, four birds including Sibley the Peregrine and iPod the Pygmy-Owl, and books for sale! From 4-5 pm at the Butte Tech Auditorium. It'll be "a riot!"

Wednesday, September 7, 2016


In the spring I planted two packs of wildflower seeds from the Good Food Store, one that said it attracted hummingbirds and the other butterflies. Two because I couldn't decide and I have a feeling they would have filled my entire yard and not this little bed in the backyard. Then the upstairs over the welding studio + raft repository has been transformed over the summer. It is now a printmaking studio, back at it after a 20 year hiatus. In the '90's I was making zinc plate etchings complete with solvents and nitric acid in my Mom's basement, yikes. Now it's drypoint etching on plastic and water-based inks! Thanks printmaker pal Bev Glueckert for turning me on to this new Safe Way of Life. My first experiment was a little kestrel:

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


Here is the best image from the raptor fight on the beach last night. The Bald Eagle flew into the tight foliage beneath the perched Osprey who took flight, swooping and taunting him to show his face. I'll miss these Ospreys when they split, most by mid-October. Researchers at Raptor View now have 13 Ospreys fitted with radio transmitters and in the past they have migrated to Southern Texas, Mexico, and South America. The young stay there the first year rather than head back, a habit unique to Ospreys and one other raptor that I know of. In the latest Raptor Round-Up newsletter I wrote: Bald Eagles must breath a collective sigh of relief that they are safe from random attacks - until next spring.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Totally Random

Currently 50 degrees at the Raptor Ranch, light rain, and no yellow jackets! They swarm this time of year and converge on meat scraps in the hawk buildings, so I have to spray off perches and remove any ex-food. Just one sting so far but really stupid, I know. This isn't, and is another psychic moment. On Friday at a book signing a lady I didn't know was saying how her son loves me and sees me skiing at Snowbowl. I told her, “Oh yea. We talked about dinosaurs on the chairlift.” Absolutely made that up - I don’t know her son from Adam. She said, “Yes, he’s studying paleontology.”
I'm not kidding. And an Avocet from Freezeout Lake.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Saturday Night Live

I missed an Osprey attack and a female Bald Eagle stood there in the snag for 2 1/2 hours, snooze. But some other birds showed up like this molting Turkey Vulture and the hatch-year Sharp-shinned Hawk. Look at that immaculate plumage that young birds display. All the feathers grow before they leave the nest, about 25 days for sharpies. A Merlin preened in the nest tree, then chased a small bird across the river at warp speed. As it got dark a kestrel had a chat with a Lewis's Woodpecker, two species that migrate out of here soon. Some kestrels stick it out over the winter, but most depart for less harsh climates. It will be pretty darn quiet around here soon, but I'll still trek to the beach for another month or so. Sort of the daily routine!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Last Night and Tonight

Lots of Osprey swoops last night but no fish scored - about six tries I think. I like this pensive look on his face.
And tonight join me and Sonora at Fact & Fiction Book Store downtown Missoula for a little book signing extravaganza. Starts at 5:30, then I am going to take my friend Pat Little out for a bevie after he gave Birds Are People, Too five stars on Amazon and this comment: Kate's pictures are always amazing, and this book is no exception. But this time the birds are allowed to speak for themselves. This book is hilarious! Or, as my wife says, it is "quite lovely." As you read the captions, along with the mirth and the tears, you will come to realize that, yes, birds are people too. How could we have missed this essential fact for so long?

Thursday, September 1, 2016

On Line and At the Beach

It's up! Raptor Round-Up Newsletter #51. This issue has more photos than ever before - I cheated and added the page of all 33 greeting card images. But lots of other stories and snapshots so check it out along with RRU's from the past six years, in living color on our web site, thanks Steve Palmer.
Also look at what was on the beach, a young female Peregrine Falcon, first of the year.  I have been praying they would make it down here from up on their cliff eyries, fledged long ago. Last year three of them were seen routinely starting August 8th until September 15th. I sure hope they stick around, and she was briefly joined by a second Peregrine and the Bald Eagle, plus a few kestrels and a dozen Turkey Vultures overhead. Lots to see but so dark and smoky, hard to "shoot."