Friday, August 31, 2018


Niko is figuring it out, and seven-year-old Mookie is more tolerant of the exuberant play, even joining in. It has been almost one week with our new friend/family. And over a week that the released Sharp-shinned Hawks have made appearances for a donated sparrow or mouse. Way to impress your friends, "Hey, watch this."

Monday, August 27, 2018

Sharpie Update

 The released Sharp-shinned Hawks are eating tossed out mice now, I can't seem to catch a sparrow lately. Tom reports that at least one has even swooped at the new puppy, just being rambunctious. They are doing just fine, always around the house somewhere.

New Puppy

We just increased our family by one with a seven-week-old female English Black Labrador named Niko. She came from breeder Chuck Whyte in Hamilton, the same place as Mookie who is now 7 so she is sort of a cousin, kind of.  Here she is with my sister Betsy, and love at first sight. So far so good with us, and Mook is warming top to the idea, slowly.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Wayward Sharp-shins

The released Sharp-shinned Hawks are hanging out in the yard, even eating tossed out House Sparrows. One female was caught in the sparrow trap, spent a night pigging out back in the enclosure, and free as a bird, re-released the next morning. All three birds have been taking live mice (not a normal prey item for Sharpies) and sparrows. They figured it out and a nice trick. Eventually they will be taking their own birds, if they aren't already. 

Friday, August 24, 2018

Peregrines on the Yellowstone

This is Jay Sumner's amazing photo taken on the Yellowstone River this summer of a pair of Peregrine Falcons poking their heads out of potholes. We were discussing this on Montana Public Radio yesterday, Pea Green Boat and now you can see why Annie had the photo upside down at first. Jay said that a long cavern behind the potholes linked them all, a huge nesting site with the chicks appearing here and there, very cool!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Bye-Bye Sharp-shinned Friends

Yesterday was the release date, and I fed the little hawks a pile of sparrows and mice.  An hour later I opened the back hardware cloth and watched from distance camera in hand, for 20 minutes. They remained perched inside full of food, and I got this last snapshot. The tiny male was the first to venture out, not surprising as he always ate first and just looked feistier. He was overhead in a tree when I sneaked in an hour later, and he flew to the cottonwoods by the river. The other two were gone when I returned from Missoula that evening, but heard one calling from that same tree. Food is installed inside the open window, but still in place now. Hope we see them again and a fun month of Little Accipiters from the box and heating pad, to the playpen, to the hacking enclosure.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Tomorrow, Thursday on Montana Public Radio

    Montana Public Radio - Pea Green Boat: Take an hour cruise with skipper Annie Garde, me and three birds, from 4-5 pm MST. Kestrels Wes and Ella, Simone the Hawk, and discussion of our three baby Sharp-shinned Hawks, about to be released. The left of the FM dial and 89.1 on Missoula, heard 'round the world on 
    Breaking News: We will be joined by pal and Peregrine researcher Jay Sumner!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Bridger Raptor Festival

Circle the days on your calendar, and we were the keynote in Bozeman two years ago. This year my photo of Sibley graces the publicity announcements, fliers and posters, COOL! October 6th and 7th.

Monday, August 20, 2018

The Lineup

Tom, Pat Johnson and dogs Mookie, Sasha and Mack yesterday.
Burrowing Owl mother and five kids a month ago.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

"Startled" Hawk

This book by Hans and Pam Peeters, from University of California Press is the best raptor book out there. Trust me, it is. My favorite description is the comparison of Cooper's and Sharp-shinned Hawks, Sharpies with "a startled expression." Perfect!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Not Another Camera?!

Yes, at the urging of my new pal/photographer Andy Lee I just bought a new Nikon D850, hot off the press and rarin' to go. These are literally the first few shots I got with it last night at the river, crummy smokey light. Some old camera trade-ins and recent art sales and voila! 

Thursday, August 16, 2018

More Sharp-shins

They will be here a bit longer, eating House Sparrows. This is the back of the building showing the feeding tube, the white pvc pipe in which sparrows are dropped. That little platform extends inside and I'll simply remove the hardware cloth when it's time, a tree limb for perching. This is an experiment to see if these little bird-catchers will return to their "nest site." Fingers and toes are crossed, but a tough gamble when no real parents are around with bird food.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Beach Bums

Our pals Steve and Bev Glueckert last night, and guests Dan and Beth last evening, refreshments and laughs galore.
Plus a random eagle.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Sonora's Spot

Our Aplomado Falcon Sonora is in the house every morning for a meal and socialization. Here she's perched by a clay vulture I made a hundred years ago.

Monday, August 13, 2018

One More

What's that Pole In Your Yard?

Kari Voss of the MPG Ranch in Florence just erected a 15 foot pole with a microphone up top to record Nocturnal Flight Calls (NFC) of songbirds migrating at night. This is an ambitious project, and ours was number 49 out of 50 recorders installed the length and breadth of the Bitterroot Valley. Project Night Flight is in their second year with one more to go, and we are all interested to see who passes over in the dark, individual species discerned with a signature sonogram, or spectrograph. Kari added a little pvc pipe perch in hopes owls will choose that and not the microphone if they land out there at night.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

More Sharpies

The tiny male with a House Sparrow and his two sisters. They are so cool.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Red Squirrel Friend

A squirrel up the Blackfoot.
The Sharp-shinned Hawks are gorging on House Sparrows, the non-native and non-protected pest bird in most people's yards. They didn't seem to want any of the new shipment of quail, falcon food for us. The tiny male hawk especially loves to bathe, usually soaking wet just out of the bath pan. Interesting. Here is the feeding tube.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Sharp-shinned Hawks MOVE

A move from the playpen in the house to a spacious space. So after about 4 hours of remodeling, this building included stapled house screen inside, a feeding station that will work inside and out, and the icing on the gravy was an newly installed aspen tree, thanks to our friends Ginny and Michael DeNeve. Gin had a wrought-iron Christmas tree stand, so they sawed down a tree by the driveway and there it is for our little hawks. Plus we just picked up some House Sparrow traps from pals at the U of M, Creagh Breuner and Joely Desimone, so now they can eat some real Sharp-shinned avian food instead of our dumb old mice. News on the way, and hope to release them here in a week or so.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Back To the Old Drawing Board

Printmaking studio over the garage, actually. After a huge hiatus with important things to do, I am finally able to work on my artwork. Currently making dry-point etchings on a special plastic and rolling inks with brayers on top. Then each is painted with gouache, the sort of tedious part, so relatively few in an edition. I just want to start another one. Here is my homage to a heron. That big black and white print on the bed is a steamroller print Bev Glueckert and I made, carved on plywood and paraded in the Day of the Dead  in Missoula in 2003!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Program Number 1700!

Friday was a big day with our 1700th program, a tour for a Florence Family and high fives all around. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Possession and Eagle Eexhibition Permits require an annual report with all the details: date/audience/contact/audience numbers/birds in program and I alway toss in miles at the end. So, yep. Program number 1700 for 132,903 people since 1988.  I counted a bunch of you twice.
Here are Sussex School kids journalling and sketching at the Raptor Ranch, 15 and 16 years ago.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Banner Day in Bannack

Our first program in Bannack State Park in 2006 was such a surprise - great turnout with new and a few old friends. Saturday we broke all travel records as I somehow miscalculated driving time (and got side-tracked with the baby Sharp-shins) - we made it in 2 hours and 14 minutes. Got out of the car a bit late and was ON! Thanks birds, many old friends, and trusty Subaru, the Time Machine.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

I Meant Sharp-shinned Hawks

They turned into Sharp-shinned Hawks. I feel pretty silly.
I thought the little down balls would get bigger but instead they just got feathered!  Little guy and two gals.

And a Great Blue Heron fishing.