Thursday, June 29, 2017

Fledge and Pea Green Boat

I was wrong and one of the eagle chicks fledged Tuesday, 80 days after hatching by my calculations and right on the money. He landed practically overhead with Mookie barking so I has to retreat downstream to get a photo with the big lens! He sure didn't mind us, just the swallows attacking. Last night he was chased by a kestrel and flew back to the nest, photos on the way.
And this is our new addition to the Teaching Team appearing on Montana Public Radio today at 4 pm.- Simon the Great Horned Owl hanging in the house.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Flap Flap Flap

I think the three young eagles will leave the nest in a week, maybe the 4th of July which would make them 85 days old! Around 80 days is the average, flapping and climbing around in the nest tree in anticipation of departure. They'll still return to the nest for weeks, but a big first flight. In other Bald Eagle nests one bird usually lingers longer, but not in this one as they always all leave at once, more or less. How patriotic as both chicks fledged on Independence Day four years ago.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Otto and Kate In 1998

Back in Clinton, on the Clark Fork River behind the house. Otto looked just the same.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Bald Eagle Evenings

Weird but all I have seen at the beach the last three trips are the eagles and no Ospreys or falcons. Officially dark at 8:26 pm, and now the days will get shorter. The first shot is a huge chunk of meat being delivered by the female who made several passes and out of breath to get it up to the nest. Roadkill? And the same bird being attacked by a bunch of ravens, just because.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

RIP Our Rough-leg

Poor Otto the Rough-legged Hawk died yesterday, and a surprise as he was getting around his building and eating mice on his own. I had been treating him for illness for just over three weeks and I thought he was on the mend. I suppose it was old age as he joined us as a hatch-year bird in 1997, handed over from a rehabber. A car collision and broken wing prevented him from being released and I named him after my Dad's buddy that was visiting at the time, Gene "Otto" Miller. Our Red-tail Alisa died this spring of "acute clostridial enteritis, rare in raptors" and I'll find out more. What a terrible year this has been.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Fox Photos

I took an alternate route home from Stevensville yesterday (buying a squirrel trap!) and lo and behold, four baby foxes were playing on a big log pile. After a while a neighbor drove by and said there were eight, but he must have been counting the adults as the males help raise the young. My first ever fox photos, unlike pal Rob Palmer that filled a book (Swift Foxes.)

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Raptors And Art at the MAM

Pal Bev Glueckert and I have been teaching a week-long summer camp for the Missoula Art Museum for about 15 years, and here is the class of 2017. Owls on Monday, hawks and falcons Tuesday, and today the paper mache raptor sculptures begin! The artists had live models and Ruby shows off her Peregrine drawing for a promo film for the MAM with Sibley to her left. Lily draws a Saw-whet with Owen the owl in the background. One year we were doing this class on the U of M campus and they accidentally booked us in the Botany Building lecture hall. Our sculptures were constructed in the parking lot, quite entertaining to the bystanders.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Back to the Beach

I hadn't been down in a week and even then never got any photos, then the water dropped and a bonanza last night. Here are a few - female eagle plunging from the scenic snag to catch a whitefish, and baby number three shows his face for a split second. See him/her? Right below the parent. Fun, mostly.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Otto Bounces Back

Otto the Rough-legged Hawk was on death's doorstep two weeks ago today, and appears to be recovering. He is 20 years old, joining us as a hatch year bird after a car collision in the Flathead Valley and broken wing. The Sunday of Memorial Day weekend he was laying on the ground and I frantically started making phone calls for advice. Lisa Rhodin at the rehab center in Helena suggested a steroid injection and we located some Dexamethazone at the home of our semi-retired veterinarian Dr. Melinda Robin in Hamilton. We didn't know if it would work as it was a long-expired bottle, but somehow Otto hung in there. Then a fresh batch on Tuesday, tube feeding twice a day, and in a kennel and baby crib. After a week he suddenly stood up and walked across the yard! Our vet friend at Auburn University suggested doses of Metronidazole to treat his GI tract, prescribed by Willow Mountain Veterinary in Corvallis and acquired at Florence Pharmacy. Now he is in a building, standing on a perch and looking perky! Just hoping he'll eat on his own soon, as still tube feeding which neither of us enjoy at all. What a group effort and beloved bird.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

New GHOwl

Just over two weeks ago, a baby Great Horned Owl joined us from the Wildlife Center of Montana in Helena. Director Lisa Rhodin knew we were hoping to acquire a second Great Horned Owl and took in this downy chick after he was confiscated by authorities. Some people in Chester, Montana were keeping him as a pet (and feeding him hamburger) - a big no-no. Federal and State Permits are required to keep these birds, with strict regulations and reports. So Simon as we named him is an imprint bird, and thinks he's "people." We have applied to have him placed on our Possession Permit and then he'll join the Teaching Team, giving the other big owl Jillian a break.

Sunday, June 4, 2017


Rockin Rudy's of Missoula has all of the new cards on display now, here with our friend Erin. Sales of these greeting cards goes to benefit Raptors of the Rockies, and thanks owner and fellow jazz-lover Bruce Micklus for the opportunity and generosity. He's sold our cards since the very first color printer and about 5 cameras ago, and now they are expertly crafted by Pyramid Printing. Team effort!