Red tailed hawk, just after release. I’ve been seeing so many adults lately 😍 #bird #hawk #redtail

Mrs. P. is a very photogenic Barred Owl 💕 #bird #barredowl #raptor #owl

Me and Ike are getting ready for Owl Fest! #bird #eagle

I’ve been trying to take more videos lately - here’s a morning training session with Whisper. We’re getting ready for free flight soon! 🐤✨ #bird #owl #barnowl

Throwback to Ike as a young eagle, before he had a full white head. It takes bald eagles about five years to get their white head - Some of them, like Ike, never totally lose the brown. #TBT #bird #baldeagle #eagle

Lucy and Hunter are two very different Screech Owls. #stinkeye

I was just thinking of our screech owl nestlings from this spring. I hope they’re all doing well out in the wild!

Day 1 of our Falconry Workshop went swimmingly! What a great group of raptor enthusiasts 🐤✨ Whisper and I are warming up for Day 2! It’s a little windy out here though 😬🐤🍃 #bird #owl #animal #wildlife

Owl Selfies + one Eagle

(Eagles aren’t very good at selfies)

A sunning Sable.

image

After spending a week camping in the sun, hail, and rain, I thought it’d be fun to get a list together of what I brought to the Goshute Mountains for Hawkwatch (and a little of what I wish I’d brought)

My Hawkwatching Essentials:

  • Binoculars - I have a pair of Eagle Optics Ranger 8x42s, which were perfect for spotting birds, and clear even far over the ridge. I briefly used a pair of higher magnification 10x42s that were at the site, but my hands must wiggle too much, because they seemed to pick up every little shake and jitter. 
  • Water bottle
  • Birding Field Guide App (iBird, Peterson, Sibley, etc) I like iBird for a birding app, and with its help, I was able to identify some of the smaller birds in camp just by their calls. 
  • Hat with sun protection - Less important if you’re going to be spending your day in the blind. Essential (for me) when spotting birds in the open.
  • Solar battery and charge cord - this saved my trip, since solar power was the only way to get electricity on the mountain. The Hawkwatch crew had some already, but I tried to use my own, so I didn’t steal their power too much. A cheap solar battery cost me $20 on eBay, and was able to mostly charge my phone after a day in the sun. Unfortunately, it was less than helpful on rainy days.
  • Sturdy closed-toed shoes
  • Snacks/candy/coffee to share I really should have brought ground coffee for the camp - it’s light, easy to pack up, and used by everyone. It never hurts to bring snacks.
  • Non-cotton clothes - to wick away sweat
  • Rainproof clothes - in case of rain/hail/sleet/snow
  • Camera gear - if that’s your thing. I didn’t want to hike up a DSLR + lenses, so I made do with my iphone and some rad natural light. It would have been nice to have though.
  • Backpack - One with a hip belt makes life a lot easier if you’re packing in gear for more than a day. 

And if you happen to be staying in the field longer:

image

  • Tent with rain guard - you might not need the rain fly, but if you do, you’ll be glad you have it. I lucked out and there was an extra tent for me at the site. Score!
  • 20 degree sleeping bag - more if it’s colder
  • Ground mat - To keep the ground from sucking away all your body heat at night, and smoothing out the rocks and gnarly roots.
  • Warm hat + Cold weather clothes
  • Extra socks
  • Bowl & spoon
  • Two headlamps and extra batteries - Overkill? Maybe. But being out at night without a headlamp sucks, and mine always seem to get switched on by accident in the pack, leaving me with dead batteries and no light.
  • Asprin/cough drops/meds
  • Face wipes - Good for faces and hands
  • Deodorant - so you don’t stink up the blind

Migration isn’t over yet, so there’s still time to get out there and see some raptors. There’s probably even a site near you, so you don’t have to go as far as I did. Or you can just go outside and look up!

Happy Hawkwatching!

image

Raptor Surfing - The curious sport in which smaller birds fearlessly drive hawks & owls out of their territory by being incredibly annoying.

(All pictures are watermarked to their talented owners)

I just spent a week in the Goshute Mountains of Nevada helping Hawkwatch band and count migrating raptors. It was beyond amazing - one of the days we banded 80+ hawks and falcons, and counted 2200+ raptors. It was mostly Coopers and Sharp-shinned Hawks, but Prairie Falcons, Peregrines, Kestrels, Goshawks, Red Tails, Broadwings, Swainsons Hawks, Merlins, and Golden Eagles also made appearances. There was even a wayward Mississippi Kite spotted! 

The Goshutes are a special site because of the way the wind and mountains come together to give lift and speed to birds on their migration - they hardly even have to flap, and birds will come from all around to take advantage of the free ride, making it a great place to count raptors. The unceasing bird parade made the 2+ mile hike to 9000ft more than worth it. I would go back in a second.

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Here’s a rad bird from last week that we don’t see much of in Florida - a Goshawk! They’re like a Cooper’s Hawk the size of a Red Tail. 😍 #bird #hawkwatch #birdjobs #goshawk #hawk