2012 is bringing with it some exciting new changes. A "Focus" in the Wild has recently published a new Wildlife Photography Magazine~ You can purchase a copy with the paypal link to the left :-) With every Magazine ordered I will email you a complimentary Desktop Calendar for that month~ to use on your computer desktop.


December 2011

December ~ the last month of 2011~ and the last FREE desktop calendar I am giving away to use on your computer Desktop. 2012 will bring some exciting new changes! Merry Christmas to you all



Snuck out this morning to take Willow flying. She had a blast and was soaring around my head for a while until the wind came up. I took along the little critter camera and was able to get some neat video~ will try to put it all together later on and share, but realized when I got home~ that most of the footage was taken into the sun.. oops. Not easy to maneuver Willow and all the things required for falconry~ the camera, myself and still try to flush a bunny or two. Well lucky for me.~ Willow has lots of patience and she tolerates me. The wind picked up toward the end, and “something” was flying above us.. I never saw it, but she was telling me it was there~ wore her out today, but she loved every minute of it. And we made it home just as it started to snow. Timing is everything.

Here are a few photos I captured off of the video footage from today..~

(Thank you Prois for such a fantastic line of women’s hunting and outdoor apparel.. cloths that really work)


I am often asked.. why I would want to fly a hawk. Other Falconers often prefer falcons over hawks as they are better suited to hunt different quarry. I fell in love with Red Tails 11 years ago. I love their personalities. I love their courage. I love to watch them fly, and hunt~ and it is all up close and very personal. Each bird has a unique personality and temperament. But this last image~ for me, gives a small glimpse into the answer to the question.. Why..?


Trapping season Day 2

Day #2 of trapping season~

Coffee is poured ~ and bait escaped some time during the night. Since we share our home with a couple of dogs and one is a Jack Russell that loaths mice and rats, I figured I was in trouble. Hawk checked the mouse trap, but it was still empty. As Josiah was getting ready for school, he spotted the mouse hiding under the kitchen island. After a little demolition work~ bait was once again caught and we headed out the door. There were a couple hawks hunting not far from the house, but none were interested in mouse for breakfast.

A trip over town on our way back to the river bottom and Hawk got permission from the local feed lot to “catch all the pigeons you want”

I harnessed up the pigeon and we took the back roads to the spot we had seen the young bird last night.

As we pulled down the old bouncy dirt road, Hawk spotted her sitting on a power pole. ~ I got ready and as we went by I carefully tossed the bait into the grass~ it had barely left my finger tips when I looked up and she was already diving.~ Wham! wings spread in a silent attack. We hurried back, but she wasn’t caught yet, just very hungry. I watched through my camera lens from a distance waiting until I was sure she was caught~ and Hawk watched beside me through his broken monocular. Breath held, it seemed like forever~ but when I reached for her~ she pulled lose and flew a few feet away. I backed off immediately thinking I had just lost this bird, but to my amazement when we got far enough away, she came running out of the brush, sauntered down the road and once again captured her meal (the pigeon) This time she was caught and I was able to get her gathered up and released from the trap~ hooded and on the way home. with a HUGE smile on my face. Hawk released the mouse into a cut oat field ~ where I am sure he will be glad the Jack Russell will never find him.

Back at home~ she has on her new jesses and anklets ~ she sits the fist very well and is a very brave girl. 1300g~ 45.85oz trapped weight

She ate the first night~ and today lets me enter the mew unhooded and pick her up with no fuss at all, even though she’s still nervous and puffed up to try to scare me.

Looking forward to working with this beautiful girl.. as for a name, I haven’t decided yet.. maybe I will let my readers and “her” fans pick a name..~

70-80% of all raptors die in their first year of life. This girl was very hungry and she came after the bait almost immediately~ I have no doubt that if she hadn’t found food in the next few days.. she would have been in the percentage that didn’t survive~ The bird are usually hungry or in poor health if they come to the bait in the first place.. healthy birds who are successful hunters will most often ignore the trap~ adult birds who are proven hunters cannot be trapped for falconry purposes. I usually fly them for a year or 2 then release them. at this point they are past that first year, and are stronger and confident hunters ~


2011 Trapping season

As some of you know I am, and have been a licensed falconer for 11 years now. I have been blessed to work with some amazing people in the rehab community and some unforgettable birds.

The last few days I have been thinking about each one of the hawks that I have had the pleasure to connect with. And as I sat on a remote dirt road, anxiously watching a hawk through my camera lens (don’t have a decent pair of binoculars ) I felt that same excitement and anxiety that I felt as I watched my first falconry bird come in for the bait. The only difference is 11 yrs ago~ I had already spent a month searching and trying to convince a legal bird to come to the trap.

Day 1 trapping for a falconry bird. ~ set the live trap out last night hoping to catch a mouse to use for bait. My husband went down to the wood pile to check and see if the peanut butter and bird seed had worked~ while I got ready for the day. No mice in the trap .. But after finding my winter gloves, and a little help from the lab dog~ (ok.. he isn’t much help, but he thinks he is) Hawk was able to capture a small mouse..small is better than nothing. I grabbed my cameras, my capture falcon license, an old towel and various other pieces and parts of equipment I would need and we headed out the door.

The weather is beautiful and right off we were able to locate a couple of bird sitting on the power poles ~ both adult birds~ so I didn’t take the time to set out the bait. Late morning we spotted a tall, thin juvenile red tail sitting on a pole above a road killed pheasant. I put out the bait and we backed off to watch. Cars rushed by on the high way and I worried that her hunger would get the best of her and she would go for the pheasant she was watching and get hit. There was a break in traffic and she finally settled down~ her head bobbed up and down as she focused on the bait in the trap. She nervously looked around, and finally~ her wings spread as she swooped down toward the trap…only to scoop up a garter snake from the highway. She flew to a nearby rise and lid on a sage brush to enjoy her meal.

I gathered up the trap and we ran back to town to pick our son up from school. ~

Later that afternoon, after returning to the area to see if I could spot her again, and setting out the bait for a couple different birds and getting ignored~

We located another young redtail in a tree at the edge of a field. Her bright white chest patch made her easy to observe from a distance. I threw the bait for her 3 different times. At one point she came in and lit on the road next to the trap.. checked it out for a bit and then retreated to a nearby fence post~ before returning to the line of trees. Not sure if she was hoping for a larger meal, or just confused by the trap~ but if you ask me ~ I think the mouse made a deal with her.. or maybe told her what I was up to and she decided it wasn’t worth the effort.

on the way home we spotted a few different hawks close to the house and decided to try to be out at sunrise to try again.

Not a bad day at all for the first day of trapping.


March 2009

It is with a heavy heart that I write this post.
I lost Sinte to an encounter with an eagle a few days ago. She flew over a rise an out of my sight. I thought at first that she may have seen a rabbit or was just mad at me and pouting. So I waited for a bit, but by the time I got to her, it was too late. I take full responsibility in this situation and do not hold the eagle in question responsible at all. It is mating season here in the west, and at this time of year the raptors can become quite territorial and don't tend to take kindly to sharing their hunting areas. I will miss her, and I hope that she is somewhere out there soaring above the sage covered hills that she enjoyed so well... with the sun shining down upon her and the wind at her back...


Sinte Luta

Sinte Luta is doing quite well. I how ever have been neglecting this blog again.... sorry....On new years day My boys chose the name Sinte Luta... there is more info about this on my regular blog ~A "Focus" in the Wild.
Since then we have been working on Sinte's strength and stamina.. She is flying and responding very well. Recieved a slight injury to her wing about a week ago, so we have taken time off to heal.. Should be getting back on track this week, weather permitting.



about one week left in the name the bird contest.. I have received a ton of great suggestions and can't wait to actually have a name for this beautiful bird. I took this picture the day she was sitting out in the sun, and caught her enjoying the warmth so much that she was dozing off.. a bird that is normally so alert....
She is working out quite well and flying with great response on the creance.. I am holding her back some because of the weather... it is staying consistently COLD.. and with the holidays I have been just too swamped to take her out hunting yet, but I have no doubt she will do great when we finally get the chance...
If you haven't entered the "Name the Bird" contest yet.. don't forget that it ends Dec 31 and a name will be chosen on New Years..
Thanks everyone...Stay warm and Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones...



Here is the first photograph of the new falconry bird. As of yet this poor dear still does not have a name. I have left the details of this tragedy on my regular wildlife blog and am asking for your much needed help. She is so ashamed of not having a name, that her feathers are all ruffled, and you know what it means when a birds feathers are ruffled....


Playing catch up~

I seem to have fallen WAY behind on this blog again so I am taking a few minutes here to play catch up.
First lets get an update on Tim~
Looks like "Tim" was actually a Tim-ette..
Timette is doing very well. The photo below is her with her big girl tail feathers from the flight barn last summer.
Tim has been placed with and educational organization in California where she will have the wonderful opportunity to teach humans about red tails, and raptors in general..
(Aren't those *red* tail feathers just fantastic?)
Now on to Scooter~
Scooter grew up into a beautiful bird,(photo below)
and was successfully released back into the wild about a month ago.
( I know, shame on me for not getting photos, or posting earlier~
I will try to do better next time*wink*)
Great News~
Scooter was spotted about a week after the release happily feeding on a cotton tail rabbit.
As for the present~
I trapped a new *falconry* bird last week.
I have not taken any photos yet. I am still working on manning the bird down and don't want to cause any more trauma than necessary~
but will post ASAP.
~bird is just too camera shy at the moment.
I am drawing a complete blank on a name for this particular red tail. So I have decided to ask my creative and faithful blog readers to help me choose a name this time. What do you say gang? any suggestions?


Total Freedom

Update on Ollie. In the short amount of time that I was able to care for Ollie, he grew amazingly fast, his feathers grew in beautifully. He was really strong and was darting around the mew amazingly well. I had served him a few live grasshoppers and mice and he didn't have any problem at all fending for himself, therefore I saw no reason at all to keep him any longer. I took him out to the pre arranged place and thought that I would be able to set up and take a few pictures of the "release" I was really excited as well as a bit anxious, hoping that he would do ok. Well, it was the most perfect and successful release, the little twerp did not even pause to look back and say thank you, see you later, nothing. He took off like a rocket and streatched his little wings and tried out his acrobatic talents. To quick for me to even think about captureing any photos. When he was tired out he lid about 200 yards across the canyon on the top of a rock bluff. We watched for a while and later in the day Ollie was seen hunting grass hoppers or lizards (not sure which) I am thrilled and confident that he will be just fine. It is always a bit scary to me when there is a release, but this little guy was definately ready to go. I have not "seen" him sence but have heard the distinctive kee kee kee of a kestrel a few times. ~



Photo taken 7/12/2008~F6.3~ISO400~1/250
I would like to introduce you to two of the beautiful babies that have come to live at
Ironside Bird Rescue.
This first beauty(grin) is named Scooter. It is a baby Red Tail Hawk, still mostly covered in down, strange for the middle of July. I guess this one is what you would call a late bloomer. The wonderful people that found Scooter reported that every year they find the babies dead on the ground below the nest. This year they were lucky enough to find Scooter, alive and well, but quite hungry. Scooter is getting stronger and stronger every day but refuses to stay on the nest platform and climbs up the side of the rock wall that is in the mew(hawk house). Scooter is exhibiting a healthy appetite and growing stronger each day. We have him/her housed in a secluded area so that he/she does not become habituated to humans, that would not be good for this bird, or any bird's future. Even as soft and adorable as they are, it is important that we as humans don't become attached and jeopardize giving them the best chance of survival that we can. (I know, But they are so darn cute!!) That is why I have decided to photograph the progress of these two adorable little ones and share their stories here, online. I am excited and looking forward to the day when these two are flying and hunting free, back in the wild where they belong.
Photo taken7/12/2008~F5.6~1/250~ISO400

Ollie is a baby Kestrel. The smallest of the falcon family. Ollie is so small and adorable. Just look at those big beautiful dark eyes. He also was found on the ground, and unable to be returned to the nest. His feathers are almost all in now, you can still see a little bit of his baby fluff on the top of his head and a little on his wings. But Ollie is flying quite well. He is eating like a little pig and getting plenty of exercise. It won't be long before Ollie will be ready to go on his way, he just needs to hone his hunting skills a little before he is ready to go.

Photo taken 7/10/2008~F5.6~1/60~ISO400


Tim~ a day in the sunshine

Wow, it has already been a month since I last posted on this page.. where does the time go??

A quick update on Tim. He has settled down nicely and I do believe that he is ready to move on to his new home and job in Raptor Education. He still has some small issues, (so do I/ hehe) but I am sure once he gets to his new home and settles in, the new handler will be able to train him to their routine and way of doing things. It has been raining here for almost a week now, but I was able to capture a few photographs one day a few weeks ago, when I brought him out to sit in the sunshine. He sure is a beautiful bird and I am sure that everyone will be just as enamoured with his as I am. I just love the intensity in his eyes! ~ Enjoy



As I type these words, I sit here with this fabulous creature on my fist. He is beginning to become accustomed the feel of my hand in place of a limb or branch. I can feel his body starting to relax, and just when I think all is well and it is time to move on the the next step, he quickly changes his mind and will once again clamp down with his needle sharp talons on my hand. With each clench, I am grateful for the protective leather glove, and remind myself once again to check the seams. I can’t help but feel for this beautiful creature, every encounter he has had with man has been a negative experience. They don’t know that the people that rescue them did not cause the pain that got them in this predicament in the first place. They do not comprehend that the veterinary treatment that they have had to undergo was to help them heal, and ideally have the opportunity to be released back into the wild and beautiful land where they rightfully belong. Therefore, my time with them I have to show them the utmost patients and help them to see that I WILL NOT under any circumstances cause them pain. No wonder he looks at me as if I am an evil demon here to consume his soul. Each day I can see the confusion and then the understanding that crosses behind his eyes as I reward him for every small step that he takes toward finally trusting me. Each of these birds has so much personality and the rehab birds come with their own pile of issues to work through. We have already come a long way in the few days that we have been working together.


Red tail Hawk (Tim the Talon)

Last years kid, Tim is an absolute beauty. He is has already introduced me to his sharp talons! I guess I am getting slow in my old age..LOL!! I will keep you posted with photos as our work progresses....


Sparrow Hawk? but not a hawk at all.

These birds are used in falconry, they are the smallest little warriors in the falcon family. Due to the prey they chase, I chose not to fly a kestrel until my 6th year as a falconer. I quickly learned that the hunting style of these adorable little birds is quite intense, and though they may not be as large as the normal falconry birds, their energy and vigor for the hunt easily rivals that of the larger species.



I would like to start this post with an opology, I have let almost two complete weeks pass by with out a post.... I will try to stay more on schedule in the future... :-)

Some of the most beautiful things in life don’t usually start out that way. You all have to admit that this is a face that only a mother could love, and truthfully, I am not even sure if “she” was capable.
Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. That is what makes this such a fantastic and fascinating world. Some are born with beauty and some have to literally find their wings before their true beauty is attained.
This is a photograph of my little Skeeter when he came to me. It took many months of care before his true beauty started to shine through, months of taking him with me in a large cast stainless steel bowl every time I had to leave the house for more than an hour, and with were we live that is every time I left. It didn’t take long before I got used to the strange looks from people, but oddly enough, I can’t recall anyone stopping to ask what it was. Not at all like being out with a cute little puppy or other assorted natural beauties..


Silent Cooperation

An unexplainable thrill courses through the human body when this fantastic symbol of Freedom turns to the call and voluntarily returns to the Falconer.



I have searched a long time to find just one word that can describe these birds when they are truly in hunting mode. I believe intensity covers it all, as it does for everything found in nature.

Intensity, as defined in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary
1: the quality or state of being intense; especially : extreme degree of strength, force, energy, or feeling
2: the magnitude of a quantity (as force or energy) per unit (as of area, charge, mass, or time)



Connections between human beings and the winged ones are nothing new.. For thousands of years native peoples of the Americas have told stories about the common ground between us. Both humans and winged beings walk upright on two legs, the winged ones it is said carry our prayers to the creator on powerful wings, and in many cultures the raptors are thought to be messengers of the Great Spirit. Feathers of birds have been worn in a place of honor amongst many tribes for untold generations and some of these feathers are still worn in ceremonies by the descendents of these ancient warriors after hundreds of years. Through my lifetime I have been fortunate to learn from my elders the old ways of the people and to honor all the creatures who we share this great earth with. When my wife Stacey began her falconry apprenticeship several years ago I was more than happy to help her in her endeavors, from the countless days spent roaming the countryside, as she trapped her first wild bird, to the weeks of training and conditioning both the bird and herself for the hunt . I was honored to be included the first time she hunted the bird from her fist. Many years have passed since that first moment of her bonding with the winged warriors of the sky and I have witnessed the growth of her spiritual awareness and skills as a falconer. But one thing has remained unchanged throughout her journey, and that is her connection to the birds. In this photo I took of her and Abby, you can see the love and respect she has for these majestic hunters. I apologize for the picture I am not a photographer and have little talent in that department. But I am gifted with the ability to notice when someone is walking through life with a good heart and a true spirit… And I am proud to say she is all of that and more… Hawk