We arrived home from our latest foray into western Montana yesterday afternoon – earlier than planned due to uncooperative weather and (to some extent) birds. Those issues are just part of the game when you’re a bird photographer but I’m sure we’ll try again several more times this summer and early fall. We still had a great time, saw some wonderful new and wild country, reacquainted with an old friend (and met a new one who now lives in Alaska but graduated from the same Salt Lake City High School where I was a teacher for 18 years – small world!) and reveled as we always do in our time spent in Big Sky Country. And I did get a few shots that I like that I’ll be posting soon.
This post is for documentary purposes only – no aesthetics involved.
In a completely unplanned manner (long story) we ended up spending a few minutes at the Ferruginous Hawk nest that I posted about here from our last Montana trip. I thought some of you might like to see how the chicks are coming along.
This is one of the images from that earlier post – taken on June 6, 2013.
Here are the same birds 12 days later, June 18, 2003. As you can see, the kids are growing up – and quickly!
We had no choice but to be there at mid-day so the birds are side lit by very harsh light but I still think the comparison between the two images gives the viewer a good idea of how much development occurs in less than two weeks.
The Ferruginous Hawk news from this part of the state is disheartening. I learned that the number of nesting pairs of Ferruginous Hawks in the area has declined sharply over recent years. One very knowledgeable gentleman that we talked to was absolutely delighted that we had found this nest on our previous trip and said that it is likely the only active Ferrug nest in the entire area this year, after much greater nesting activity by the species in previous decades.
Sad news indeed.
Note: Both nests referred to in this post were very close to roads. I photographed the nests from those roads and from inside my vehicle. The birds were acclimated to vehicles and traffic and were not disturbed.