Sunday, March 29, 2020

It's Official

"Our" Bald Eagle nest that we watch through a scope in the living room is housing Canada Geese, again. The eagles successfully fledged between one and three young for six consecutive years, me and the dogs on the beach photographing away. Then an empty nest in 2018 with geese the last two years. Eagles should be incubating by mid March, instead a twisting up goose head right now. Oh well, and a photo from last year:

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Near-by Nest

In this photo from 2017 I actually/happily got a photo of one of the three chicks fledging. Bye-bye and good luck!

Friday, March 27, 2020

They're Back!

Our friend Kathy Price reported that two Ospreys were standing on this nearby nest as of 5:30 pm, March 25th, about a week earlier than our imaginary arrival date of April 1st. I got a few crummy snapshots yesterday, and look - the male has a leg band. We've never had a banded bird at that platform, and I'll try to read the numbers through a scope.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Resident Flock

These turkeys live on our little road, and yesterday the hens were treated to some fine displays by four Toms. I had to shoe them out of the middle of the street right next to East Side Highway, a bit distracted I think.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Raptor Round Up #58!

I finally cranked out a new newsletter and it just takes sitting down for a two or three days with a positive attitude, some nice stories and about 50 photos - looks great in color! Here it is,  on the website. 

Thursday, March 19, 2020

First Day of Spring

Nothing says Spring like a pair of Western Bluebirds perched on your Penguin sculpture in the front yard.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Eagle Nest Update

Bummer, I don't think the eagles are breeding across the river for a third spring in a row. They started building the nest in 2011, six years with fledglings, and incubation beginning as early as March 5, 2017. Three of those years they had three offspring. Famous birds! This morning a Canada goose was perched in the tree (terrible photo) and one was in the nest. There you have it.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Bret Tobalske Audubon Program

I hate to admit it, but I hadn't been to a monthly Five Valleys Audubon meeting in a while. Monday I was delighted to be in the audience for Dr. Bret Tobalske's talk on Hummingbird Flight, amazing. He is THE flight expert, and had our Peregrine fly in the Tower of Power, super-high speed cameras and on our web site
Bret discussed biomechanics, aerodynamics with wonderful illustrations, plus thermal balance and touched briefly on migration.  I almost offered this insight (and wished I had) from our neighbor back when we lived in Clinton:
“Migration? Hummingbirds use Canadian Gooses, and they hang on to their fur with their teeth. Drop off wherever they are going.”
Bret wrote back, "Riding a goose - indeed! I had someone ask me about that in earnest, at a seminar years ago." HA!

Friday, March 6, 2020

Peregrines RETURN!

The first Peregrines of the year, at the Bonner cliff with my Mom Sally yesterday, her 86th birthday a week ago! Jay Sumner also came just as the male flew by, female called from the cliff. Hurray, the season begins.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Monday, March 2, 2020

Back to the MAM

We held another Raptors And Art for Grown-ups Workshop on Saturday at the Missoula Art Museum, fun for all and what great birds. I had a revised PowerPoint, Nigel the eagle, Sibley the Peregrine and Simon the Owl, all posing perfectly for three hours. The real fun was monotype printmaking with Bev Glueckert and some masterpieces.  We'll be back.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Big Day, Mom!

Happy Happy Sally Mom, our best pal. Number 86!

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Today in the Bitterroot

Sibley goofing off and a moose eating a pine tree

Friday, February 21, 2020

Washington Wildcats

Back from an hour-plus program for 240 6th graders, right here in Missoula with PowerPoint, Sib and the little kennel as a surprise. I told the kids I bought a kitten (Awwww!) and actually the tiny owl, Owen (Awwww!)  I had a short film of Sibley growing up, showing the imprinting process of 24-hour attention to a growing bird. I said this was easy because I don't have a job. At the end of the program, a hand went up during questions. "What is your job?"  That was a first and I had a long answer...

Wednesday, February 19, 2020


I packed Jake in the car at 6:00 am on Monday and had the most terrifying drive of a lifetime in a blinding snowstorm - didn’t even see a lane or pavement for 85 miles. White-out, ice and 35 mpg. Fortunately no one else was stupid enough to drive in those conditions. Got slightly better and an easy drive home from Spokane, WA - 452 miles total for me. Kit and Tim report that they made it back to Eugene that evening and Jake is settling in nicely, great new digs. And a photo of a Prairie Falcon and Northern Harrier squabble to illustrate the SNOW conditions, unbelievable. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Bye, Jake

Little Jake the Peregrine who joined us as a baby in July is now a resident of the Cascades Raptor Center in Eugene, Oregon. He has had health issues from the start and may need surgery on one foot, so Director Kit Lacey and staff will care for him, a hospital and veterinarian on site. Very fine facility! We met up in Spokane, Washington yesterday and Jake was at his new home at dark. More news about that drive next...whew.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Today at Fort Owen

Thanks Becky Peters for this snapshot from today's program. Look at those kids with Owen the Owl!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Our Favorite Rodent

This Red Squirrel rules the roost, and here he is flying through the aspen trees in the front yard. (The bird feeder is the target!)

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Next Saturday!

    Fort Owen Ranch and State Park, Stevensville - from 10am - 3 pm. Kids invited, come one come all. An event for out-of-door enthusiasts with booths, food, and a Raptors of the Rockies presentation at 2 pm. Archery, fly fishing, shooting, horsepacking, the works. In the big barn right off Eastside Cut-off Road. FREE!

Friday, February 7, 2020

Finally the Snow!

Just now, and update on Jake - more permit hoops to jump through, and waiting on the weather, so he'll be with us a while longer.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Little Jake Off To Oregon

Our young Peregrine Falcon Little Jake is here in the office. This weekend he will be joining the Cascades Raptor Center in Eugene, Oregon. I am meeting Director Kit Lacey in Spokane for the transfer, off the Falconry license and on an Education permit. Health issues and more news on the way. We are all delighted!

Tuesday, February 4, 2020


We are HUGE Jeopardy fans and last night the Final Jeopardy Category was "World Mammals." I was correct even before I heard the question and what are the chances of this? I shouted out, "Platypus." After the advertisement the question was announced - "A drawing of it by John Hunter, naturalist & governor of New South Wales, published in 1802 labels it Ornithorhyncus Paradoxus." "What is a duck-billed platypus." 
I was correct, and crazy to get that correct with 5,416 species of mammals from which to choose! On my way to buy a lottery ticket. Just kidding.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Monday, January 27, 2020

Sunday, January 26, 2020

My Pal Bruce Haak

His new book and I made him this flier:

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Rooster Fun

I recently told a friend that I had been taxidermist for 20 years, and she asked, "What's the craziest thing you ever did?"  Here it is - a rooster for a fly-tying hackle business. I dyed the skin in five different colors then stuffed it, used at trade shows. Hugh Spencer claimed that he raised these special chickens, with a wink! He even had some believers...

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

No Pheasants

Thanks to our pals the DeNeneves across the street, and Sib was swooping then decided, time to go home. This is her "feed me" look.

Always a Peregrine in the House

This is a metal sculpture I welled back in 2005 with Nico in the sun. Live Peregrines are in the house every day as well and one Aplomado Falcon that perches on a house plant or bookshelf. We have a bunch of other metal bird sculptures, photos, and etchings all over the place, and what an avian home we have. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Friday, January 10, 2020

Rough-legged Hawk

The other gorgeous hawks here in the winter are Rough-legs. The females and young have these distinctive white rumps with the dark terminal tail band and dark belly. After a year, the males have a mottled dark grey plumage with bars down the tail. From the breeding grounds in the north, they spy on rodents in the snow, hovering over a meal and often perched on utility poles and fence posts. They also tend to perch on small limbs and twigs on the tops of shrubs and trees, rather than on thick branches, a way to spot them a half-mile away and impress your friends with your wondrous raptor ID skills.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Winter Hawks

A careful look at these big hawks all over in open country reveals the obvious resident Red-tail, plus two others. Considered a Red-tailed Hawk subspecies, the Harlan's Hawks are here in the winter, migrants from Alaska and Canada. They have various degrees of black plumage, some all dark, and lacking the bright red tail. They are here in the Bitterroot Valley every winter, welcome visitors. The other is the Rough-legged Hawk (next Blog.)

Monday, January 6, 2020


Just finishing our end-of-year reports, with Sibley yesterday:
This makes, since 1988 -
32 years, 135,207 in our audience, young and old alike, in 1767 programs, WHEW!

Friday, January 3, 2020

Facebook Post

Wow, flash from the past and birthday fun.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020