Raptors

:Tag: Raptors

Sleeping With the Fishes

This isn't the first time I've seen an Osprey napping with a fish in his talons. Last year, while observing the platform way across Seattle's long-abused-but-recovering Duwamish River I watched a male Osprey land on a utility pole, clutching a half-eaten meal. A crow who'd been tailing the Osprey, landed alongside. The Osprey perched, adjusted -- then appeared to doze off. The crow who'd been haranguing him for some leftovers seemed to be in [...]

2019-02-01T06:05:23+00:00June 16th, 2013|Blog|5 Comments

Everything’s Coming Up Snowy

Edited to add: Originally, I posted the location of where we hiked to see the Snowy Owls. It's fairly common knowledge around Washington, but I suffered post-blogging pangs about revealing the location of a popular species like a Snowy Owl. After chatting with a wildlife photographer I dearly respect, I've decided to remove those references. Last year, I witnessed the frenzy and ethical breaches surrounding the Snowy Owl irruption, and my general policy is to [...]

2013-01-21T21:20:46+00:00January 21st, 2013|Birds, Uncategorized|20 Comments

The Snowy Owls of Seattle

12/31/12: I edited this post early this morning to correct for some late-night syntactical issues. "The piercing light of her eyes is a reminder there is light upon the dark path no matter how doubtful it might be .... Owl can navigate the dark realms of the night and still sustain her nourishment; if you feel lost, the Owl can help you find your true path once again." ~ From The Bohemian Collective It's as [...]

2012-12-30T22:55:41+00:00December 30th, 2012|Birds|20 Comments

Bird Verse: Eastern Gods

They are eastern gods -- they meditate. (Yes they are.) "The Owls" by Charles Baudelaire (translated by Edna St. Vincent Millay) The owls that roost in the black yew Along one limb in solemn state, And with a red eye look you through, Are eastern gods; they meditate. No feather stirs on them, not one, Until that melancholy hour When night, supplanting the weak sun, Resumes her interrupted power. Their attitude instructs the wise To [...]

2012-12-13T21:10:57+00:00December 13th, 2012|Uncategorized|5 Comments

A Sneeuwuil By Any Other Name

Sneeuwuil - Dutch Le Harfang des neiges - French Sniega puce - Latvian Snøugle - Norwegian Wabagano - Cree Shirofukuro - Japanese ~ Many thanks to Paul Asimow's Snowy Owl pages for the above excerpt. We don't yet know if it's an echo year for Snowy Owls (the year after an irruption), but the Bubo scandiacus are once again planting their furry feet on rooftops, sidewalks, meadows and in fir trees around Seattle and the [...]

2012-11-25T20:30:37+00:00November 25th, 2012|Birds, Uncategorized|14 Comments

Osprey: From Platform to Pairing to Fledging

There are three Osprey nests within three miles of our place ... one is a pile of branches, marine rope and police tape, layered on a new platform over Commodore Park. The platform was built after Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) removed an ages-old nest on an even older communications tower on a railroad bridge.   Old Osprey Nest - Railroad Bridge Tower - ©ingridtaylar   Old Osprey Perch Below the Nest [...]

2012-08-14T01:50:55+00:00August 14th, 2012|Birds|10 Comments

Heat and the Osprey Canopy

I've never heard as much talk about the weather as I do here in the Northwest. Most people I meet do not like the drizzle, despite the fact that it's an integral facet of living in a marine environment. For me, when the temperature starts to hit 80, I seek basement bunkers. Heat stroke cured me of sun worship. And then, living through years of Los Angeles water rationing and drought, I developed a love-love [...]

2012-07-04T12:08:42+00:00July 4th, 2012|Uncategorized, Weather|3 Comments

The Benefits of Anthropomorphism

If you work with or care about animals, the nonhuman ones, eventually, someone will say something like, "shouldn't you care more about what happens to people?" That question doesn't faze me anymore. Given our predominantly anthropocentric world view, I'd actually be surprised if people didn't ask it. I have plenty of answers for why it's a good thing to care about species besides our own. But my top four [anthropocentric] ones are: What happens to [...]

2012-05-03T13:56:26+00:00May 3rd, 2012|Birds, Uncategorized|3 Comments

Meanwhile … Back at the Cell Tower

When I last left the Cell Tower Osprey, they were in an apparent tussle over their nesting site. Photographically speaking, I chose the wrong time for this week's visit. But, I was in the neighborhood just after dawn and figured I'd drop in for a few minutes. The only place to photograph this tower is from the west, looking into the sunrise. So, the eastern sun left me two options: backlit Osprey or ... poorly-lit [...]

2012-04-22T14:21:36+00:00April 22nd, 2012|Birds, Uncategorized|6 Comments

Osprey Noir

I figured it was about time I added to my Bird Noir series. I was on Elliott Bay, looking out for the re-tern of the terns -- Caspian Terns -- when I saw this Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) flying toward me. I pre-focused where I thought she might be fishing, but she veered off to my left and hovered over a Port of Seattle storage yard that was obscured from my view by trees. Still expecting [...]

2012-04-19T02:32:37+00:00April 19th, 2012|Birds, Uncategorized|6 Comments

Showdown at the Osprey Cell Tower

Three's a crowd ... even in the Osprey world. I'll get back to that thought in a minute. There are two Osprey nesting platforms within three miles of our place, plus several others within ten miles. Last week, all of the Osprey returned to my local spots within the span of a few days. I marvel at the synchronicity of this migration. A friend and I checked the various sites and found at least one [...]

2012-04-18T00:03:54+00:00April 18th, 2012|Birds|8 Comments

Utility Pole Eagles

Back in the Bay Area, if someone had described to me a place where Bald Eagles huddled on every utility pole like pigeons or Starlings, I would have thought it must be Alaska ... or somewhere along the Samuel Morse telegraph lines of the mid-1800s. I didn't expect that just two hours north -- through the Peace-Arch crossing into British Columbia, toward Vancouver -- I'd have a one-eagle-per-pole morning. I lived in Vancouver in the [...]

2012-03-13T16:47:08+00:00March 13th, 2012|Birds, Uncategorized|4 Comments

Was it Something I Said?

Spencer Island, Washington -- described by Audubon Washington this way: "A cornucopia of species! Come year-round for Bald Eagles, Great Horned Owls, Northern Harriers, Belted Kingfishers – and woodpeckers: Pileated, Downy, and Hairy, plus Northern Flickers and Red-breasted Sapsuckers. Spring-summer find Tree and Violet-green Swallows, plus Ospreys, Wood Ducks, Blue-winged Teal, Western Tanagers, Black-headed Grosbeaks, Band-tailed Pigeons, Red-eyed Vireos, Common Yellowthroats. Long-billed and Short-billed Dowitchers migrate through in fall. Look for Merlins, Peregrine Falcons, Orange-crowned [...]

2012-02-25T21:35:54+00:00February 25th, 2012|Birds, Uncategorized|7 Comments

Eagle Noir

I joke (but it's true) that my best eagle and osprey in moments in the Northwest happen in silhouette. There's the issue of light, and how low and flat it tends to be in the winter. There's also the issue of my luck -- where the light is perfect, I'm pointed in the right direction, but the bird has other plans for me, usually flying overhead and hovering mere meters away with a lightbox of [...]

2012-02-02T12:48:00+00:00February 2nd, 2012|Uncategorized|10 Comments

Bald Eagles Wear the Pants

At the height of Bald Eagle season in Rockport and Marblemount, along the Skagit River, you'll see dozens of eagles, lumbering across the sand bars, dragging and pillaging salmon carcasses. I like to say that birds like pigeons have jodhpurs -- with flared plumes tapering into claws. Eagles, on the other hand, look like they're wearing Wookiee pants, a vision more amusing when these huge raptors cluster together in one spot. We saw such a [...]

2012-01-29T21:22:49+00:00January 29th, 2012|Uncategorized|4 Comments

Barring the Hat

My first wild encounter with a Barred Owl in Seattle culminated in the photo below. Based on this experience, my advice to children in raptor territory is: avoid wearing plush toy animals on your backpack as the dusk hunting hour approaches. A boy was walking along a wooded path with his mother, a fuzzy toy animal tethered to his pack. From a nearby tree branch, this Barred Owl swooped down, aiming for the little boy's [...]

2011-09-04T17:39:17+00:00September 4th, 2011|Uncategorized|4 Comments

And Osprey Makes Two

So far, that's all I've seen at this nesting site . . . two diligent Osprey, bringing each other fish and taking turns sitting. The structure of the cell phone tower obscures the interior of the nest, so I see only what happens on the rafters outside. To date, it's been just a male and female Osprey with no visuals of eggs or young. They have their favorite dining area, on a girder to the [...]

2011-07-06T13:38:26+00:00July 6th, 2011|Birds, Uncategorized|0 Comments

No Dropped Calls

This Osprey doesn't have to worry about mobile phone dead zones at home -- nesting, as he is, at the top of a cell tower. Osprey love the tall platforms of human invention, but the settings can take their toll, too -- in the form of power outages, or even electrical harm to the birds. Dead trees are a favorite nesting spot for Osprey. With suitable trees and habitat in increasingly short supply, [...]

2011-05-11T02:12:32+00:00May 11th, 2011|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Bald Eagle in the Backyard

This is a huge bonus of living in Seattle: the urban and suburban wildlife includes a multitude of Bald Eagles. This morning, Hugh went into our friends' garden to fill up their bird feeder -- a chore we both kind of enjoy. A huge contingent of birds descends right when our boots leave the scene of the feeder. As he walked into the garden, seed in hand, he saw this [very] big bird, perched on [...]

2011-03-08T20:57:51+00:00March 8th, 2011|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Eagle En Route . . .

. . . it's a Seattle thing. First alert -- a look overhead and warning calls: American Wigeon first responders leave lone Eurasian Wigeon to contemplate his next move: And he's off: Safety in numbers: The instigator comes into view: The juvenile Bald Eagle shows little interest in the ducks, catches the thermals, and whirls up over the trees. The wigeon [...]

2011-02-23T19:10:18+00:00February 23rd, 2011|Uncategorized|1 Comment