Where These Wings Are Never Caged

“Wild thing, you make my heart sing.” – Chip Taylor

One of my favorite things about our home – on a very long list – is the neighboring wildlife refuge. Most all of our windows look out at its gold-tipped grass in the summer and the seemingly endless cotton blanket of winter during days like today. Each time I walk or drive through it, it is a different adventure brimming with life.

Today’s drive with my mom began just a quarter mile north where the Bitterroot Bison teenagers (in bison years) were eagerly awaiting dinner at the gates along the highway. (On the 4th of July last summer their mischievous ways landed them just beyond our fence line, spicing up our BBQ with friends). There’s something so majestic about their beauty and power, something to marvel over. We stayed awhile watching them watching us.

Turning into the refuge opened the floodgates to all of my favorite winged creatures. It was quite an adjustment – a native New Yorker – coming to Montana and noticing the lack of small songbirds, something so prevalent back East. Here, the big bird reigns. He, with the golden eyes and the sharp beak and the long talons. He, who is unafraid and watching you watching him. Good day, bird of prey. And so we drove, past the white-tailed deer leaping and bounding for the fun of it until the sun dropped every degree.

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“The Boys”

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Just a fence line away

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Broad-Winged Hawk and the man in the moon share a portrait

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Great Horned Owl, eyeing me down

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Wild Turkey, ever so graceful in flight

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Bald Eagle sits high above Eastside Hwy

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Common Goldeneye enjoying a warm solo swim on a subzero day

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“Walking on thick ice”

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White-tailed Deer, surely a youngster

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