by Denny Olson

Despite the disappointment of once again cancelling our Birds of Prey Festival this fall due to health concerns, Flathead Audubon once again made some lemonade from the situation, pivoting smoothly to a more limited number of remote and socially distanced activities called Birds of Prey Week.

Raptor Silhouettes

One of those was a Friday evening outdoor workshop at the Lone Pine State Park outdoor pavilion called “Raptors from Below”. Back in August of 2020, I spent the better part of two weeks painting and laminating 27 full-color, full-sized silhouettes of 27 plumages of our 17 most common migrating birds of prey. (Only the distinguishing characteristics were colored-in. Don’t be confused by all the white parts!) They were created for training purposes — to encourage more adventurous souls to become secondary and hopefully primary observers high on the Mount Aeneas Ridge at out Jewel Basin Hawk Watch (JBHW) site. 

To go with the silhouettes, I also wrote a 3-page “key” to the distinguishing features separating one species from another, including juvenile birds. The workshop drew 26 enthusiastic participants, many of whom followed up the introduction with a trip or two to JBHW to see this spectacular flight for themselves!  

We will do this again next August for those of you who may be interested. The file is below to view online or download to share!