My best winter news:  I won best in Wildlife in Friends of the Gorge annual photo contest for the above photo!

It was the first time I entered and I also took away an honorable mention for my adorable Pika!!

AND an honorable mention for my smoky sunset!  My prize for ‘First’ in Wildlife was a gift certificate to Pro Photo and a fabulous new Columbia backpack!

Feet back on the ground, on the first day of Winter I hiked out my back door to see who I might find.  Nuthatches!  White-breasted and…

…Red-breasted Nuthatch.

After that first sunny day of winter, we had a bit of snow.  I stayed close to home & watched Chickadees in my garden.

New Year’s Eve I went with a couple of young birders to High Prairie where they showed me a Great Horned Owl.

The younger birder has a great eye and spotted a Rough-legged Hawk in the distance and we were thrilled at how close it flew to us while hunting.

Alas my fellow birders couldn’t stay long, but I wasn’t ready to leave.  Lucky me I watched a Northern Harrier with lunch!

My winter raptor survey is in full swing and I loved finding this pair of Bald Eagles near sunset.

A few days later I drove along the Columbia just because the sun came out!  Saw eagles chasing eagles….

 A beautiful Great Blue Heron flew past.

And I passed a gorgeous Kestrel sunning at the top of a snag.

Back at the Bingen Marina I checked on our Tundra Swans.  Yep, still there.  They arrive and depart about the same time as migrating Bald Eagles.

I believe this is a Horned Grebe soaking up the sun, but I always mix it up with an Eared Grebe.

I took a couple of friends from Portland out hunting for Bald Eagles here in the Gorge and lucky us, we found some.

We watched a few juvenile eagles with an adult bathing in the Columbia, hiked into Balfour Park, then headed further east.

We found this beauty near The Dalles Dam where I was heading the very next week for Eagle Festival.

Eagle Festival at The Dalles Dam occurs every January when the Bald Eagle population is at its fullest.

I arrived super early hoping for a sunrise shot, but alas it was a gray morning.  However, because of my early arrival I had a pretty nice spot for watching eagles fish.

I ran into many of my birding friends there, especially after the sun came out!

California sea lions also came to the party at The Dalles Dam!

It was truly a glorious day.

I like taking long scenic drives to see what I can find.  This abandoned house had a young bald eagle perched at the top of a craggy old tree next to it.

The Klickitat River runs through many little towns in our area.

You can get down right next to it or view it from a great height.

This time of year it might be snowing or the clouds below so thick that the river is hidden.

You can almost always find a Bald Eagle near the Klickitat River.

That about sums it up, I think we’re caught up now.  Well except …

We put in a trail cam and now know what eats our bird seed every night!

Oh, and my really big winter news is I’m going to NORWAY where my paternal ancestors came from!!  I didn’t know I wanted to go until invited by a loved one.  I’m working overtime selling my remaining art glass to fund this surprise trip.  More about that in an upcoming post!


Autumn sunrise on Burdoin Mountain. Easier to get up for fall & winter sunrise!

Pears ripen during autumn in the Columbia River Gorge and attract all sorts of critters, including a Downy Woodpecker.

Woodpeckers seem to come out in the open like this pair of  Northern Flickers in the Soda Springs area.

Maybe we can see them easier with less foliage.  An Acorn Woodpecker sits on a snag in the Klickitat Wildlife area.

I also spotted a Coyote while in the Klickitat Wildlife area!

I love being on the Klickitat River this time of year.

We headed to the Bend area where my husband’s buddy from high school showed us where they fished together on the Crooked River.

While in that the Bend area I found a River Otter lunching on the Deschutes River.

And a sweet little Ruby-crowned Kinglet munching on flies in a spider web at Cline Falls State Park.

A trio of cygnets (one thinks he is hiding underwater) at Sun River Nature Center.  Sadly their father, Chuck was illegally shot and killed not long after my visit.  There is a substantial reward, if you have any info contact the Oregon State Police.

Ridgefield NWR is one of my favorite stops, and you can usually find a Great Blue Heron at the first pond (and around every corner). 

Mt. Adams reflecting in a pond at Conboy Lake NWR, my ‘backyard refuge’.

Lucky me, while at Conboy Lake NWR I caught a rainbow over the little town of Glenwood!

An old friend traveled through from Alaska, seeking the sun. We went to some of my favorite waterfalls.  Lower Lewis River Falls…

….and Curly Creek Falls among them.

That night we had an Aurora prediction, so yep, I stayed up for this ‘Tiny Aurora Borealis’ behind Mt. Adams.

Speaking of tiny, I found a little Golden-crowned Kinglet in my backyard.

Another friend (& fellow photographer) & I went hiking along the Lewis River to Upper Lewis River Falls.

I can’t believe in November I still had Hummingbirds dipping into my feeders!

Thanks to a friend’s invitation, we headed back to Bend to watch the mule deer Rut.  I have way too many photos to share, so this favorite one will have to suffice.

My raptor surveys started back up for East Cascades Audubon Winter Raptor Survey.  I truly love participating.

Our Tundra Swans return to Bingen Pond….

As do the American Wigeon….

…and the Pied-billed Grebes.

Bald Eagles begin migrating to the Columbia River Gorge each year around Thanksgiving.

Steller’s Jays take over my feeders.  Chickadees, Juncos and Nuthatches have to elbow their way in.

A chipmunk visits my garden for the first time this fall!  At least the first that showed himself to me in over 30 years!

The next day he found a feeder!  Isn’t he CUTE???

I was lucky to catch a Bald Eagle flying fast over the Little White Salmon River.

A friend intrigued me with a rare bird, so I had to go check it out!  Yellow-bellied Sapsucker at Commonwealth Lake near Portland.

While there, a Sharp-shinned Hawk landed in a nearby tree with lunch!

My last hike of the season, Falls Creek Falls.  It’s now closed until April 1st.

Our Bald Eagle population continues to increase in the Columbia River Gorge.  Trio of juveniles fighting over food.

During a visit to Ridgefield NWR, I found a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk looking down at me….

…and a Red-shouldered Hawk calling….yes, he MUST have called me over to him!!

Back at Conboy Lake NWR I caught a Northern Shrike hovering.  At first I thought he was a Kestrel because I hadn’t seen a shrike hover like this before.

While there I also found a White-breasted Nuthatch, another favorite.

I’ll leave you with this Columbia River Gorge sunset from the Spring Creek Fish Hatchery entrance.

If not tomorrow, then soon … I’ll fill you in on my wonderful Winter.

She’s BACK!

January 24, 2018

I think I exhausted myself photo-documenting all those raptor nests in my last posts!  I enjoyed many adventures afterwards and took a lot of pictures but didn’t get around to posting….or sitting at my computer for much time the rest of 2017!!

Here’s a quick recap to catch up!

I led a bird walk at Conboy Lake NWR for Julee at Mt Adams Lodge in July.

Had family come to the Northwest for a visit and we hiked many of my favorite places….

…We picked cherries….

…and played with art projects.

I enjoyed hummingbirds in my garden…..

… and of course my garden flowers…

…as well as butterflies….

Enjoyed my 98% of the eclipse with old friends at their vineyard here on Burdoin Mountain!

I conducted my annual Pika surveys for Cascades Pika Watch.

…and even found juveniles this year!  I’ve said it before, the cutest little mammals on the planet!

Hired to shoot for Sail the Gorge Magazine, I spent a lot of time on the Columbia River!

Hiked around Mt Adams, enjoying lakes and waterfalls.

Love high places, but sadly this day another wildfire began, you can see smoke drifting over Mt. St. Helens.

Headed south to visit family and took them sailing with dolphins!

Found some interesting new birds like this Warbling Vireo near Horsethief State Park.

And interesting butterflies like a MONARCH also near Horsethief!

Sadly, the last of our summer days were clouded by the horrific Eagle Creek fire.  Started by a teen with fireworks in a steep dry canyon.  The Oregon hiking trails in the Columbia River Gorge are still closed and many will not reopen for several years.  I worry about the wildlife, especially our little Pika who lost their source of food.  Not even our expert scientists are allowed in yet to check on them.

That’s just summer!  I’ll be back tomorrow to share ‘how I spent Autumn’ with you!!

3.23.17  I’ve watched this Bald Eagle’s nest for at least five years, intermittently photographing the family.  This year I decided to photo-document every 4 to 5 days, (then 2 to 3 days, then every other day as the eaglet grew closer to fledging) to see and share the progress with you.  In addition to our national emblem, the Bald Eagle is a spiritual symbol for our native people.

After my first shots of the eagle nesting I headed out to see how fast and furious the spring waterfalls were flowing here in the Gorge.

4.9.17  Mom’s still on the nest.  Bald Eagles mate for life and this pair return to the same nest each year.  Another resident pair of Bald Eagles on the Oregon side of the Columbia also return to their nest each year.  Both parents share nest duty, but the female has the larger share while the male hunts or fishes.

4.16.17  A gorgeous sunrise over Mt Adams on my way down to the Bald Eagle nest.

As I arrive, Mom is on the nest.  As with most raptors, the female is larger than the male.

After a little while, Mom begins calling for Dad…Dad arrives and immediately starts calling for Mom!  At one point they were in the nest together, which makes it easier to tell who is who.

Dad left shortly before Mom flew back into the nest.  She settled in and I quietly crept away, delighted to see the family interaction.  This is a nest I hike to, down a steep hillside and heavily trafficked road.

4.23.17   A breezy morning, my view of the nest is constantly hidden by foliage on nearby trees.  Bald Eagles can live long lives ~ the longest known eagle in the wild was over 38 years when it was struck by a car and died.

Not sure which parent is in the nest and which is on the branch.  They must be side by side for me to tell them apart at this stage of my Eagle Education.  The white head indicates they are at least 5 years old.

4.25.17  Parent is still incubating in this huge nest.  Bald Eagles build nests that are typically 5 to 6 feet wide and 2 to 4 feet deep.

4.28.17  The Bald Eagle parent sits at the side of the nest today instead of incubating, so a chick probably hatched between 4.25 and 4.28.17

4.30.17  Dad is waiting for Mom to come home so he can go fishing.  They typically eat fish, but will also consume birds, reptiles, amphibians, and small to medium mammals.

Mom’s home! They’re not quite side by side but you can see Mom in the back is slightly larger than Dad.

Dad takes off to do a little fishing for the family.

Isn’t he Gorgeous!

Mom ‘rearranges furniture’.  When they build a nest, both mates bring sticks (and branches!), and grass, moss, and soft plant material to line the nest, but the female does most of the arranging.

She ruffles her feathers…..

…then tends to her chick.  The chick in the nest that I still can’t see….

5.4.17   This morning I arrive in time to hear one parent calling to the other…and look closer!

We have an EAGLET!!  Isn’t he adorable?  He’s now called a ‘nestling’ and will remain so for 56 to 98 days.

5.11.17   A rainy day, one parent perches above the nest while the other parent works to feed the family.

Little Eaglet is already losing his white downy fuzz.

5.15.17  Today I arrive in time for breakfast.  Mom brought in a fish earlier for the youngster.

Looks like a tasty bite of salmon.

Mom also gets a little nourishment.

I personify, and emotionally attach myself to this family.  And wouldn’t you agree this is a tender beautiful moment.

Mom hires me to take a parent and eaglet portrait

5.19.17   A hot sultry day, everyone is trying to stay cool under the hot sun including me.

5.23.17   I’m invited to another meal at the Eagle Nest.

5.28.17   Even though I began the previous day at 4am I chose to stay up for the Aurora Borealis prediction.  If my eyelids could have stayed open another 5 minutes I would show you pillars and waves but alas I needed sleep so headed home for a couple of hours sleep before checking on the eaglet.

Steller’s Jays harass the eagle family today and swallows often fly around the nest.

Little Eaglet stretches his wings as Mom perches above the nest and Dad perches below.

5.30.17  Eaglet is on the other side of Mom on this windy day, probably just lying low.  I always worry about the eaglet falling out of the tree-top nest; it has happened in the past.

6.3.17  Little Eaglet is home alone today!  

I watch him preen his beautiful feathers.  He’ll remain dark for his first year and will keep that dark beak and dark eyes.

6.8.17  I can barely see the eaglet hunkered down in his nest as a parent perches on a branch above.  We have a cold, rainy day in the Gorge and I would hunker down too if I were home.

6.11.17   I went down to the Eagle nest early in the evening for better light and found him stretching his wings and jumping in his nest.  I’ve seen this action before and it’s fun to watch a raptor learn how to fly…I equate it with kids jumping on the bed.  Eventually wind will catch his wings and lift him up off the nest.

He dances around the nest for half an hour, then settles for a minute and dances again.

He’s still very young and won’t be ready to fly for a few more weeks…..

….but what do I know…look at him go, it could be any day!

 6.13.17  Each day his wings are stronger and I’m happy to arrive during his dance sessions.

He has more oomph in his efforts…

…until he finally has lift-off, and jumps higher.

6.15.17  Another gray Gorge day, the Eaglet lays so low in his nest I can barely see him.  For a moment I thought he fledged without me!

6.17.17   A beautiful day in the Columbia River Gorge!

I went back to the Eagle nest near sunset hoping for more great light.  Evening is so much better than morning light for this nest!

Little Eaglet practicing flight techniques as I arrive….I can feel the power in his wings growing.

And he’s learning to master the wind!

He is incredible to watch, I could stand here for hours on end.

As the sun goes down the eaglet lays down to rest.

All evening I’d heard his parents calling from above and finally caught a glimpse of one.

6.22.17   Another early start, looking west down the gorge on my ‘commute to work’.

Little Eaglet is my last stop of the day and I watch him as he looks out over the Columbia River.

The late afternoon light is lovely today as he practices his flight techniques.

He looks so determined in this shot like he’s going to jump right off that nest and into flight.  He’s getting so close to the edge of the nest lately that some of the nest material is spilling out.

6.23.17  Little Eaglet looks almost as large as his parents.

6.24.17  I check the nest frequently now because it feels like the eaglet will fledge any day.

He continues to practice his flight skills.

6.26.17  Just chillin’.

6.27.17   A windy day, his feathers need some preening to put them back in place.

6.29.17   It’s always amazing to watch the family dynamics of the Bald Eagles at meal times.

Dad arrives home with breakfast.

Little Eaglet with head down and shoulders hunched politely waits his turn to eat.

Mom and Dad converse….

Dad takes off and Mom finally says it’s ok for Junior to eat.

7.1.17  Little Eaglet is resting on another windy afternoon.  I hope he navigates his way through a long life.  The most common causes for Bald Eagles’ deaths are electrocution from power lines, trauma from impact with cars or buildings, and poisoning from lead bullets or chemical pollutants.

7.2.17   Little Eaglet jumps higher and higher in his nest.

He lands with a firm touch-down.

And then propels himself higher than ever!  Are you ready to fly little guy??!!

A parent flies in with breakfast…

…which makes him focus on eating instead of jumping.

Right after breakfast, Little Eaglet goes back to jumping in the nest!  He is SO READY TO FLY!!

7.4.17  After another jumping session this morning, Little Eaglet jumps high and steers himself to the perch above his nest.

His parents have tried to lure him there by calling to him from the perch, then flying off either to fish or to the perch where Dad sits.

He kind of skitters and clumsily lands it, but he has officially fledged.

And here he sits!  A Fledgling!!

I saw him there again a couple of days later; then not again for several days.  The last time I saw him he was back in his nest eating a fish that I hope he caught himself.  On subsequent visits Little Eaglet wasn’t home.  His parents will be back to rebuild this nest next year and this winter we’ll host hundreds of migrating eagles on the Columbia River.

For more about Bald Eagles check out  National Wildlife Federation, Audubon, Cornell’s All About Birds, and Wildlife Society Bulletin

The introductory post in this series where you’ll find links to my other nests as I post them is Empty Nest


5.25.17   As I sit in my car observing Red-tailed Hawk Nest #2, a woman stops to chat with me.  I always appreciate that because I learn more about the history and people of the area.  This is a special conversation ~ she tells me about yet another Red-Tailed Hawk nest only a couple of miles away!  And again, it is barely off the road!!  Yep, I am now watching THREE Red-tailed Hawk families!!!

5.27.17  The parent shields her chicks from the hot sun as there is no shade other than the utility pole.  This nest seems a bit small and frail which makes me wonder if it’s a new set of parents.

5.30.17  I know these shots look similar, I tend to arrive about the same time each day.  I don’t stay long at this nest because the road is too close to the nest and obviously makes the family uncomfortable.  Mom tells me to depart immediately!

6.3.17   On my way to the nest I have to stop for an early morning shot of Mt Hood.

Hard for me to tell at this stage which is the older or larger chick.  I missed the incubation stage (28 to 35 days) for this family, but the nestling period for Red-tailed Hawks is 42 to 46 days.

The chicks settle down in the nest.  Baby hawks are called eyasses but many refer to them as chicks and if you read my Hawk Nest #2 post, you know that I think they should be called hawkettes.

6.8.17   It is pouring rain.  The Red-tailed Hawk parent protects her chicks.

6.10.17  The parent is out of the nest today, watching from a nearby utility pole while the other parent soars over a nearby farmer’s fields.

The kids stay in bed and don’t move around much the short time I am here.   A quick stop to check on the chicks, then I’m on my way.

6.11.17  Nice to see you sitting up!  Look at all those big brown flight feathers!!

6.13.17  Both chicks have new feathers growing in and are looking around their environment with interest.

6.15.17   I check my nests every other day now because a couple of nests are close to fledging.  This pair doesn’t seem close at all.

Look at that big stretch!  You can really see the brown feathers filling in.

Doesn’t he look like a little prince?

As I watch this nest and Red-tailed Hawk Nest #2, I notice how tall the wheat is growing.

6.17.17  Sibling rivalry?  The youngest hawk chick siblings are getting darker ~ check out the tail feathers on the right chick.

6.19.17  A beautiful sunny day as I arrive at the nest site.

The hawk chicks are maturing quickly now.  As the youngest nest, they have a few weeks to catch up with their counterparts.

A parent watches from a utility pole down the road.

6.22.17   HEARTBROKEN!!!  Where’s the nest?  The day before, Mother Nature provided a big gust of wind on summer solstice that blew the nest down.  From my car I don’t see the nest or family so I abandon caution, park and jump out to find them.

A parent is frantically calling as she flies overhead, then lands on a post in the field.  I see what must have been the nest strewn across the same field.

After searching from every angle, I finally find one chick in the field.  I hope his sibling is nearby in shade.  Yes.  I called Rowena Wildlife Clinic again to learn what I should do.  “Leave them alone, their parents will provide.”  A reluctant ok from me because they hadn’t even begun to practice flight skills.  Or maybe hopefully they have and I didn’t see it.  Leigh said to call her back tomorrow if the situation worsens.  Again, thank you Leigh.

6.23.17  I return to find one sibling on the ground, but not the other.  I can’t tell if it’s sleeping or….

A parent is still around keeping watch, so I have nothing to report to RWC.

WAIT!  There’s one sibling safely perched behind a wire fence.  I’ll check back on you kids tomorrow.

6.24.17  One Red-tailed Hawk chick is still in the field not looking good & I can’t find the sibling.  No other word for my thoughts but heartbroken…..

6.27.17  Started as a beautiful day in the neighborhood.  I’m holding out hope for the little Red-tailed Hawks.

From across the field I find one sibling perched on a branch behind the fence. YAY!!

I am ecstatic to find the missing chick near his sibling.  See him on the ground in front of the wheat to the right? Maybe he’s just been hiding in the wheat fields!  I confess relief washes over me.

6.29.17  I search and search for the youngest of my Red-tailed Hawk chicks…

They are not anywhere near where I’d last seen them.

Finally I see one chick farther out and sitting on a post!

A parent sits on a utility pole in the distance, but once again I have a missing chick.

7.2.17   A Red-tailed Hawk parent floats in the sky overhead.

The other parent sits on a utility pole surveying the field.

I find one sibling perched on a snag again.

No sight of his brother despite my search.

The wheat fields near this nest have changed color.

7.4.17   My last visit to this nest, I watch the little Red-tailed Hawk ~ now officially a fledgling ~ fly from his perch to a fence post farther out in the field.  I still hold out hope for the other.

His parents are both still flying overhead as I leave.  They’ve probably already begun teaching the little hawk how to hunt.  I hope next year these parents build a bigger, stronger nest!

One last look at this beautiful view on my way out of the area.

More about Red-tailed Hawks at Hawk Watch International, American Birding Association, and Cornell’s All About Birds and a few questions answered from Cornell.

The introductory post in this series where you’ll find links to my other nests as I post them is Empty Nest


5.2.17   My friend cjflick was helping me with the Prairie Falcon nest site, confirming some facts and shared some historical falcon nest sites with me.  As we looked at this particular site we spotted a Peregrine Falcon in flight with prey, so followed it to see where it landed.

We were practically dancing with delight when we saw it land on this former Red-tailed Hawk nest and watched its mate fly away.  Peregrines typically lay their eggs on bare rock, called a scrape; or take over an old nest and parents share nest duty.  Incubation takes 29 to 32 days.

This nest is high on a cliff ledge, the furthest distance of all the nests I follow so please forgive my picture quality.

5.4.17  I watch the Peregrine Falcon flying in toward the nest with prey in its talons.  They generally eat birds and surprising to me, bats!  The pair mates for life as do many raptors and return to the same breeding ground each year but not necessarily the same nest site.

The parent lands in the nest with breakfast.  The falcon blends in with background cliff rocks.  Nest sites are generally on high cliffs, away from predators.

5.11.17  Today I don’t see any Peregrine Falcons but that doesn’t mean she’s not on the nest.  Incubation period is 29 to 32 days if she’s laying on eggs.

5.15.17   I see a Peregrine Falcon adult on the nest, not incubating according to its posture,  so I’m guessing we has chicks!

5.19.17   I can see a FUZZY WHITE CHICK but barely!!  His head pokes up toward the left middle part of the nest and stands out against the dark rock background.

5.23.17   Today I can clearly see three Peregrine Falcon chicks high up in their nest!!!  Nestling period averages 38 days.

5.25.17  Peregrine Falcon chicks are still difficult to see, but their fuzzy little white heads are peeking up just above the rim of the nest.

5.27.17   A downy little Peregrine Falcon chick is oh so close to the edge of his nest, just beginning his young life.  The average life span of these raptors is 7 to 15 years.  The oldest banded Peregrine was close to 20 years old according to Cornell’s All About Birds.


Even though my day began at 4am I chose to stay up for the Aurora Borealis prediction and am so glad I did.  I must tell you that if my eyelids could have stayed open another 5 minutes I could have shown you pillars and waves but alas I needed sleep so headed home.

5.28.17  A Peregrine Falcon parent sits in a tree high above the nest while I listen to the chicks calling.  Osprey also loudly call and fish nearby.

The kids must all be asleep, I see no activity.

5.30.17   I’m trying to remember to show my surroundings while ‘nest-watching’ and this is another early morning start to see as many nests as possible in a day.

Even though I’m far away, I can see dark feathers growing on the nestlings.  Like Prairie Falcons, chicks are called Eyases….a fellow raptor enthusiast suggests Falconette, which I like better.

Peregrine Falcon chicks stretch their little wings, showing the dark flight feathers growing in!  I’m guessing they’re about 5 weeks old based on what I’ve read.  Peregrines are the fastest bird in the world, diving over 200 mph in pursuit of prey, with a normal ‘cruising’ speed of 24 to 33 mph.

6.3.17  Another very early morning to check my nests, starting with the Peregrine Falcon.

The chicks are quickly growing, compare this shot to the fuzzy chick’s first wing stretch just a few days ago.  I can hear them steadily call for their parents.

6.8.17  In five days time most of the remaining white feathers have turned brown on this trio of Peregrine Falcon chicks.

Rain with gray sky ~ not the best background, but still happy to see the falcon parent hunting overhead.

6.10.17   The Peregrine Falcon chicks explore the rim of their nest and surrounding rocks and crevices.

They race back and forth across the nest.  Look at those wings!  It makes me think they’ll fledge sooner rather than later!

6.13.17   The trio matures at a fast pace, exploring more outside the nest.  Parents place food farther away, luring the chicks farther beyond the nest.  Eventually parents will exchange food with the fledglings in flight, training them to catch flying prey.

I wonder how much more time I’ll have with this little family as the chicks gain maturity so quickly.

The Peregrine Falcon parent is easy to spot in the sky, but difficult to catch as she’s so fast.  Like most raptors, the female is larger but it’s difficult to tell them apart when not together.  According to Jim Watson, Wildlife Research Scientist at Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, the wing beat for a male in powered flight is more rapid and Kestrel-like, whereas with a female you can better distinguish individual wing beats… also the male is bluer than the female.

6.15.17   The Peregrine Falcon Chicks have a quiet morning.  Many fledglings do not live past 2 yrs old.  Several reports I read indicate until they grow wiser, they run into buildings, windows, fences, and airplanes while aggressively chasing prey.  DDT is banned in the US, but not in every country this raptor travels to, so pesticides are also a cause of death.

6.17.17  One chick is completely out of the nest!!  A fledgling!!

Look how high he can jump, as he returns to the nest.

Grabbing onto sticks to further propel him back in while his siblings watch and learn!

6.19.17  The chicks are gone!  They fledged so fast!  I stop by the nest every few days, then once a week while on my other nest checks but I saw no more of this Peregrine Falcon family.  My friend cjflick has monitored Peregrines for years and says  they usually traverse the fields over Catherine Creek as they grow stronger, learn how to hunt and improve flight skills.  Hope I get to watch them next year, I’ll keep a closer eye on them.

If you’d like to learn more about Peregrine Falcons, Cornell’s All About Birds, Audubon, Defenders of Wildlife and The Nature Conservancy for a great start.

The introductory post in this series where you’ll find links to my other nests as I write them is Empty Nest


4.9.17   As I watch this nest on the first afternoon, Dad swoops in with a treat for Mom!  The nest is on a road with light traffic which the hawk family seems comfortable with.  I am able to park off pavement (barely) and observe this family quietly without disturbing them.

4.20.17  This post is probably my longest in this series as I spent the most amount of time with this family, thanks to a lead from Nancy at a wildlife photography presentation I gave for ‘Wild About Nature‘.  Mom does most of the incubating, which takes 28 to 35 days.

4.23.17   My day starts at sunrise from Rowena Crest, then I head out past the Deschutes River to visit the Red-tailed Hawk family.

A parent is still laying in the nest, but wait….are those little downy white feathers I see?????  Could we have chicks????

5.2.17 Hard to say if there is a chick yet as Mom is still lying low in her deep nest.

5.4.17   Today Mom is no longer lying low….Plus I can see little white downy feathers.  If we have chicks, their nestling period is 42 to 46 days.

Lucky me to see Dad fly in with lunch!  I read that the female feeds the chicks and is the main nest duty parent.  Dad does most of the hunting but Mom helps once the chicks can be left ‘home alone’.

5.11.17  Outrunning the rain at dark thirty in the morning to check all my raptor nests, I hope I can keep up with my plan to watch each nest until all chicks fledge.

Both parents are at the nest when I arrive today and I did not outrun the rain.  I decide to park and watch anyway.

One parent takes off…

…the other shakes off the rain.  No visible chicks yet.  Red-tailed Hawks mate for life…or as it’s often said “until one mate dies”.   I find myself wondering how long this pair have been together, their nest is large and sturdy.

5.15.16   WE HAVE A CHICK!!!  I do a little happy dance … silently and motionless inside my car!!!

I watched Mom tenderly feed her chick.

Zoomed in a little closer, he is so precious.  Baby hawks are called eyasses but many refer to them as chicks like other birds…I think they should be called hawkettes.

5.23.17  When I arrive I notice feathers embedded in the tree above the nest and no parent around.  I’m told later by the coordinator of The Feather Atlas that these are Red-tailed Hawk feathers so I wonder what happened to the parent and how those feathers got there.  If it isn’t a parent, who is it?  In the wild, Red-tailed Hawks live less than 12 years generally (in captivity they can live as long as 30 years).  Many die in their first year just from inexperience…they may starve but like other raptors, they are hit by cars, electrocuted by power lines or shot.

The good news is I can see TWO chicks, the one standing and another fuzzy little white head in front.

5.25.17   Awww, clearly I can now see both sibling Red-tailed Hawks.  Simply too cute for words.

5.27.17  Most of the neighbors just smile and wave as I shoot from my car, but today a kind young fellow stopped to talk.  I learned that this nest and the Great Horned Owl nest down the road are fought over each year by the hawk and owl.

As we chat, I catch a glimpse of a parent hawk bringing home a snake for lunch.

As it flew closer, the snake looked bigger.  I read that they take the prey head off with their talons, but it was still moving when placed in the nest.

The tree trunk prevents me from seeing a lot of arrivals and departures, but the kids don’t miss anything.

No different from any kid after a big meal, there is some business to attend to.  This is how raptors keep a clean nest!

Even though my day began at 4am I chose to stay up for the Aurora Borealis prediction and am so glad I did.  I must tell you that if my eyelids could have stayed open another 5 minutes I could have shown you pillars and waves but alas I needed sleep so headed home.

5.30.17  The chicks call for a parent to feed them.  Constantly.

Sure enough, a parent shows up with food!  Most of the food I’ve seen brought back to the nest are snakes and rodents of some sort, but they also eat squirrels, rabbits, and birds.

Mom feeds Little Sibling.

Older Sibling is annoyed….Sibling Rivalry?

6.3.17   Chicks are standing at the edge of their nest!  Be careful kids!  Look at those brown flight feathers growing in!

Stretch those little wings!!

After eating and stretching, the Red-tailed Hawk chicks settle down in their nest.  I call it a good day.

6.8.17  A heavy rainstorm today and I find a Red-tailed Hawk chick alone in the nest. WHERE IS YOUR SIBLING?

He looks so miserable.  What could have happened to his little brother?  I can’t find him anywhere.  Mother Nature, you are so cruel!!

Adding insult to injury, the blackbirds won’t leave him alone.  I spent a long morning watching and wondering.

6.10.17   I can’t stop thinking about this lone little chick and thought maybe I didn’t search thoroughly enough for his sibling.  Alas, what I find is dismaying.  The lone chick is in his nest and it looks like a parent crashed into the tree under his nest.

I don’t know if this is the only parent, due to the feathers seen weeks ago above the nest, so I decide to call Rowena Wildlife Clinic for advice.   “Wait and watch … see if there’s a parent still feeding….” and other pertinent info.  Thank you Leigh for being there!

Meanwhile, the lone chick is jumping on his bed like there’s no tomorrow.

Seemingly delighted to have the place to himself.  In the meantime, I worry and wait and wait and wait.

6.11.17   I return today for a follow-up, for both RWC and myself.  Yay, he has food so someone is feeding him!  I won’t have to go catch mice or snakes and throw them up to his nest.  Yes, I was thinking I would have to become his meal provider!

6.13.17  I’m so relieved to actually SEE a parent flying in with food.  I’m still pondering what happened to the parent under the nest.

Yum, snake seems like the food most readily available.

6.15.17  Once again I see the remaining parent bring home food.  I’m checking as often as I can now to be sure both remaining raptors are ok.

Afterward the parent gets harassed by blackbirds again.  Makes me wonder if blackbirds forced the other parent into the tree…  Or was the other parent defending his chick from a predator, since the chick disappeared the same time as the parent’s crash… Or…

She takes off in flight….

…while her chick jumps on the bed again.  omg so cute!  His feathers are changing rapidly now, look at that beautiful color.

As I wait and watch I notice the wheat fields nearby have grown tall.

6.17.17  I arrive to find the Red-tailed Hawk chick standing on a perch outside his nest.  I haven’t seen him fly, but he can hop up to the perch/landing where his parent delivers food!

6.19.17  It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood!

Little Red Tail gets harassed again by blackbirds while he tries to practice for his first flight.

Looks like a standoff to me.

Sheesh, who knew blackbirds were such bullies!  I guess all’s fair in love & war and this looks like war.

6.22.17  Little Red Tail calls loudly for his parent.

Remember how pathetic he looked that rainy day when I discovered his sibling missing?  What a difference, he’s so beautiful and strong now!

6.24.17   Little Red Tail is further away from the nest on a higher branch and can ‘fly/hop’ from branch to branch above the nest!   It’s about to get exciting….

His parent flies overhead……

Little Red Tail takes off in flight chasing and calling his parent!!!  His calls sounded downright gleeful to my ears.

I’m not sure how this happened, it was so fast.  Either the parent led the fledgling to the rodent in the field, or perhaps the parent dropped it for the fledgling to find.  Little Red Tail pounced on it, played with it for a tiny while, then began to eat.  Now I know how they learn to hunt!!

After eating his own ‘catch’, Little Red Tail takes off from the field and awkwardly lands in a ‘new’ tree farther from his nest.  Learning by leaps and bounds now!!

7.4.17  My last nest check, I am thrilled to see Little Red Tail soaring in the sky across wheat fields.  I’m sad to end his story here but happy knowing the little guy made it this far.

A last look at Mt Hood and wheat fields as I leave the area, wishing Little Red Tail the very best.

More about Red-tailed Hawks at Hawk Watch International, American Birding Association, and Cornell’s All About Birds with a few questions answered from Cornell and Hawk Mountain

The introductory post in this series where you’ll find links to my other nests as I post them is Empty Nest



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