Monday, February 20, 2017

Land, Land, Then Land

Falcon flights with Sibley are sure rusty, both of us out of shape after nothing for the last few months. She had a little play time yesterday near Hamilton, but by the third time she landed on the car, I knew it was time to call it quits. Hawking in a t-shirt and no snow that far south was sure a luxury. We are looking for pheasants as the upland game bird season lasts until March 31st but Sibley never makes it quite to the end. The sky is filled with territorial hawks and eagles catching thermals that time of year! There's always next season, I guess and hope, starting in September.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The View

That speck at the top of the tree just to the right of center is the eagle standing over the nest. This is the view we have from the living room, spying the scene through a scope. Last year incubation began on March 12th, about two weeks later than the previous year. The way the eagles are behaving now, looks like we will have another nesting season coming up, fingers and toes crossed. I'm anxious to get back into the evening routine at the river with the camera and dogs.

Friday, February 17, 2017


See Sib by the Bill Harley poster?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Montana Public Radio Day

After a big hiatus we're back on the Pea Green Boat today, with host Annie Garde and human guests. Teacher Kevin Cashman is bringing a few fourth graders from Chief Charlo School and we'll discuss our favorite book, "My Side of the Mountain" by Jean Craighead George. Sibley the Peregrine will be along for the ride, and we'll finish up with a Great Horned Owl. Annie has a song from Kevin's band the Whizpops cued up. Check us out at 4 pm MST, left of the dial at 89.1 fm Missoula and live and streaming on the web, always!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Raptor Round-Up In the Works

I am finally sitting down to write the Holiday Issue of our Newsletter, a little bit late. Or perhaps we're way early, depending on your point of view. This will be a fun one, re-visiting a bunch of late autumn photos like these waxwings, and lots to report like the Raptor Research Foundation Conference in Cape May, program at the Peregrine Fund and a new owl on the Team. Like I always say, takes a week to write, a moment to read! Or just "look at the pictures..."

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Montanan Magazine

This book review just appeared in the University of Montana thrice-a-year publication, another fun review by our friend Ginny Mirriam. I think my proudest moment in the bird world was making the cover in 2012, photo by Keith Fialcowitz. I always say that I'm the first female, non-athelite, bachelor of science recipient to score such an honor. Nearly 100,000 copies printed and the best story ever, thanks again Ginny!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Nice Spread

My photo of the young Bald Eagle flying with a kestrel perched on her head made Montana Outdoors Magazine, first page spread in their annual photography issue.  I had Pyramid Printing produce a hundred of these as cards and handed them off to all of the nurses, doctors, therapists, housekeepers, everyone at St. Patrick Hospital. I hope it will bring back memories of the "happy ending" of Tom's remarkable recovery and a pretty cool behavior. Just now I had a screaming Great Blue Heron briefly land on our roof, fleeing a young Bald Eagle attack! No camera handy for that.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Milestone-130,000th Audience Participant!

Our friend teacher Kevin Cashman invited us back for a program after the 90 4th graders at Chief Charlo had finished reading the favorite book, My Side of the Mountain, written by Jean Craighead George. In this classic, the protagonist Sam runs away from home, lives in a hollowed out tree and hunts with a Peregrine Falcon, all things I wanted to do when I read it in 4th grade. But this trip was postposed a half dozen times at least with hospital trips taking priority. Finally we had our "slide show" with Sibley and iPod on hand and the milestone: the 43rd student to enter the room was our 130,000th audience member since we started in 1988! Riley in orange behind me was the lucky winner and he and Mr. Cashman will join me on Montana Public Radio next Thursday at 4 pm for a visit with Annie Garde on the Pea Green Boat Childrens' programming. Below is John with my falconry gear, and no not a rifle but telemetry case. We made sure the secretary knew that when we came in the school...

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Sloppy Mess

A heatwave is hitting and our winter wonderland is now slush and rain. I shoveled out a bunch of paths and all of this snow is about to slide off the roof. It knocked the dish off over the office a few days ago but I somehow reinstalled it to get an internet connection, unbelievable luck. Off to Chief Charlo Elementary in Missoula for a program, fingers crossed the roads aren't as bad as our driveway. A surprise is in store for one student, stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Winter Goes On and On

One blizzard after the other, and Jillian the Great Horned Owl has a frosty face. This is a great time to stay home and catch up on paperwork, reports, grants and enclosure maintenance. I even trimmed some beaks, especially Otto the Rough-leg.  He has to look nice for our "appearance" on Montana Public Radio Pea Green Boat Show next Thursday.
And, THANKS to all of you well-wishers sending Tom great thoughts!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Eleven Weeks Today

Sorry for the silence, but wanted to wait and share good news. Just before Thanksgiving Tom went in to NowCare with a fever and after three hospital stays for 44 days total, he is home and feeling a little better.  He endured a ventilator, medically induced coma, dialysis, plasmaphoresis and chemotherapy with 30 days in the intensive care unit. At two weeks he was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease, disamal prospects.  I was at the hospital every day for doctors rounds in the mornings, home at dark. Tom came home for a month but all of the stress and medications resulted in ulcers, internal bleeding and two ambulance rides. He is a living miracle as his kidneys have fully recovered, the antibodies of the disease are gone and chemo treatments were halted! Absolutely impossible. And he missed the 18 below zero weather... The staff at St. Patricks are just that - Saints!