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!