Kate Davis began life with a love of animals and by junior high school in 1973, she was caring for mammals and raptors with the Cincinnati Zoo Junior Zoologists Club. She provided educational programs at the zoo and in the community, as well as illustrating their publications and doing taxidermy work. Her father had a great interest in photography, tutoring Kate with a darkroom in the basement all of her childhood. Nikon all the way!
After locating in Missoula, Montana in 1978, Kate received a degree in Zoology from the University of Montana in 1982. She founded the non-profit education organization Raptors of the Rockies in 1988, now in their 32nd year, and keeps a dozen non- releasable and falconry birds at the facility at her home on the Bitterroot River of Western Montana. Formal programs with these raptors number 1780 for 136,000 people, young and old alike including 132 schools in Montana and Idaho. Kate also “appears” on Montana Public Radio every three months with raptors as guests, and performed a TEDx Talk in 2015 with the Great Horned Owl, Jillian. She has also presented her lively PowerPoint programs across the country from Boston to Seattle, with Chicago, Salt Lake City and Detroit in between. The Teaching Team raptors are the subjects and source of inspiration for her photography, drawings, paintings, etchings, welded steel sculptures, and writing.
Kate’s first book came out in 2001, aptly titled “Raptor of the Rockies” and was geared toward younger audiences. For her second book “Falcons of North America,” she teamed up with award-winning photographers Rob Palmer and Nick Dunlop. Two years in the making, this volume is a mixture of science and stunning images.
She again collaborated with Rob and Nick for “Raptors of the West”- 250 pages, 430 photos, and 45 species of birds of prey from Burrowing Owls to Golden Eagles, all divided into the habitats in which they may be found. Raptors of the West won the National Outdoor Book Award for Design and Artistic Merit, and grand prize for the Montana Book Award 2011.
Her fourth book, “Bald Eagle Nest: A story of survival in photos,” has 135 of her images of a Bald Eagle nest that fledged four young. The next book, “American Kestrel:Pint-sized Predator” came out in 2014 with more than 100 photographs again with Rob Palmer, because “Everyone loves a kestrel!”
Book six came out in 2016 – “Birds Are People, Too” a different slant on birds and photography, humor with 120 bird action shots of 62 species so not just raptors this time. “It’s a riot!”
“Falcons of North America 2nd Edition” might even be out by December, new science and 150 new photographs from Rob, Nick and Kate. Can hardly wait.
Kate was presented the greatest of honors in 2017 – the Lifetime Conservation Achievement Award, only periodically given in Montana. Plus, she and raptors are celebrating thirty-two years of education, and with young Teaching Team birds now, no retirement in sight.
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