From July 18th by our founder, Susan Tyner:
We have a little bit of sad news to report to the hundreds of thousands of good people who have attended one or more of Martin’s wildlife programs, “Birds of Prey of the West.”
His dear friend and one of our favorite wildlife ambassadors, “Thumper” the Harris Hawk, was killed and partially eaten in his chamber while he slept, by a wild raccoon. His chamber had a heating duct that ran through the floor. Somehow the raccoon was able to crawl into the heating duct, travel about 20 feet in the duct-work, push up the floor grates and enter his chamber.
Since then 3 wild raccoons have been trapped attempting to enter our rehab chambers and pigeon loft. By Utah State law, any raccoons trapped must be euthanized. It is illegal to rehabilitate or relocate raccoons in the state of Utah.
Thumper was the last baby Harris Hawk from Martin’s captive breeding program. He had a difficult time breaking out of his egg and so Martin had to assist him as he hatched. Thumper hatched in Martin’s hands. They became the best of friends.
Thumper was a dedicated game hawk as well as a wonderful wildlife ambassador for the Southwest Wildlife Foundation. He was 28 years old which is about three times longer that an average Harris hawk would live in the wild. At his age he was frail and a little senile, kind of like a hundred year old man. As long as the weather was nice and warm he would spend his days and nights outside in his chamber, but for the last many years when the weather would turn cold he would come into the house and spend time watching TV with the family. He was like an old retired hunting dog.
He will be missed.
P.S. Martin is getting ready for his “Birds of Prey of the West” program today. It will be his first program in almost 3 decades without Thumper.
The heat of the summer brought a lot of guests to the Southwest Wildlife Foundation. For a good portion of July, counting our Golden Eagle Wildlife Ambassador Scout, we housed six golden eagles.
We’re glad to report five recovered and were released and Scout continues to educate.
1) Slot Canyon BLM 6/23 – 7/21
2) Bottom of mine pit 7/1 – 7/29
3) Utah Division of Wildlife Services – Red Cliffs campground/recreation area. Reported and picked up by UDWR on 7/1 and brought it to us 7/2 released 7/27
4) Utah Division of Wildlife Services – Hurricane area 7/09 – 8/6
5) Utah Division of Wildlife Services – Fillmore area 7/18 – 8/6
6) Scout Wildlife Ambassador
Kestrel falcons are the smallest falcons, and are safe for older children to be able to release. We were inspired to partner with Utah Foster Care for a special children’s release. Four children were selected to release the kestrel falcons.
Since it was late at night when I dropped the eagle off at Southwest Wildlife Foundation Inc I was too tired to tell the entire rescue story and I’d like to make sure to give credit where credit is due because there is NO WAY I would have been able to rescue the eagle on my own!
Friday afternoon Jim Clery had just gotten back to our shop, Utah Canyon Outdoors from a guided hike and showed me the photo of the eagle they had discovered in the canyon and told me it looked like it had been there for a few days. Worried about how much longer this animal could survive, I immediately called up to the Interagency office and told them the situation and asked if they could notify the wildlife ranger and if there was anyone that could respond, they said they’d find out and call back.
Just a few minutes later, BLM Ranger Michael Thompson calls and says he can help and asks if I can show him where the eagle was stuck. Absolutely, I’ll be ready in five. Done, and off we go.
We hiked in as fast as we could in the afternoon heat and entered the slot canyon from the bottom, not sure how far up the eagle might be trapped. Within a few bends of narrow, twisting canyon and a small up climb, I poked my head around the corner and SURPRISE! There he was. He seemed massive. Even in his poor condition he was as big as a turkey. We later learned he was born this year, only a baby.
I backed out of there and let Mike take over from here, he had previously handled an eagle or two while working as a ranger in Alaska and felt slightly more comfortable around talons the size of your pinky fingers… He threw the blanket over the eagle to settle it down and then swaddled it to protect himself from the talons.
Hiking out was a challenge as we tried to keep the blanket loose enough to not overheat the eagle too much while not getting ourselves in trouble with those talons – or that beak!
Once back at the truck we were able to get the eagle into the ‘suspect cage’ without harm to anyone and he was quite content to sit in there during the long drive back and look out the window with the A/C on. The one time he opened his wings a bit was when a raven flew by and caught his eye. It was pretty incredible to see this amazing animal so up close. I was praying inside with every fiber of my being that we would make it to Southwest Wildlife Foundation Inc in time.
On the way back I had gotten a hold of Jim and told him the story and he gave the heads up to Martin Tyner of SWF in Cedar City that we’d be bringing him an eagle that night in bad shape. Jim also called our friends Nate & Kristina Waggoner in search of a kennel to transport the eagle to Cedar City and they jumped to help, bringing over a large kennel just as we arrived with the eagle.
It was a quick transition and soon I was on the road heading towards Cedar City, with little traffic I arrived at Martin’s house around 10:45pm. As soon as I arrived Martin burst into action and had the eagle out of the cage and into his arms with the grace and ease of scooping up a baby. I could immediately sense his deep knowledge and love of these animals and it instantly calmed my nerves and worrying about this eagle. He was in the best hands and if anyone could save him, it was this man.
I’ve attached a link to a video of the feeding & fluids Martin immediately gave to the eagle as soon as we got in the door. Afterwards he showed me the runs where we put the eagle in for the night and he let me peek in at a beautiful Great Horned Owl that was released yesterday at a solstice celebration in Parowan Gap. He also introduced me to Scout, his education Golden Eagle and hunting partner.
I sat with Martin and his wonderful wife Susan in their living room and they told me about their foundation, the work they do rehabilitating wildlife and their vision for Cedar Canyon Nature Center. I was humbled and inspired by their passion for their work and the wildlife they heal, their quiet kindness and absolute dedication to DOING GOOD in this world.
This experience has impacted me greatly and I’m humbled at being a part of saving a life like this. I encourage you all to go to http://www.gowildlife.org and support their great work with a donation. The foundation is funded entirely on public support and donations, thank you for helping the rehabilitation and release of wildlife in Southern Utah!
A baby flammulated owl fell out of its nest near the horse race track in Beaver Utah. A conservation officer with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources retrieved the young owl and brought it to Martin Tyner, federally licensed wildlife rehabilitator with the Southwest Wildlife Foundation in Cedar City, UT where it will be fed and cared for until it is able to be released back to the wild.
The flammulated owl is the smallest owl found in Utah. It will be approximately 4” in height full grown. They are the only dark eyed owl in Utah. Their preferred nesting site is old abandoned woodpecker holes in trees. Their preferred diet is primarily large insects and small mice.
00:00 – What is your busiest time?
01:47 – I found a bird, how do I care for it?
03:01 – What animals are “wildlife”?
07:12 – Why is it illegal to release a Ringneck Dove?
08:18 – Why do smaller animals have to die to save larger ones?
11:32 – What is life like for Helen?
12:51 – What can I do to save animals?
17:09 – Is it too late to return animals taken away?
18:13 – What is “imprinting”?
20:58 – Is wildlife instantly imprinted from any human contact?
22:44 – Do you often see the best of intentions end poorly?
25:58 – Do you have any advice about finding wildlife information online?
27:53 – Is there any accountability for wildlife misinformation online?
29:06 – Can I learn to care for wildlife from watching videos?
30:31 – The volunteer critter webgeek has edited and seen all your video repeatedly, is she qualified to work with wild animals?
33:00 – Does experience with one animal transfer over to another that is similar?
36:27 – What are some examples when animals to need help?
38:48 – Do you run into legal issues regarding wildlife care?
41:29 – Should wildlife go to veterinarians?
42:56 – What is there is no local help?
44:44 – Why doesn’t Susan work with the bigger critters?
46:11 – Why does it make Susan nervous when you work with big raptors?
47:29 – How long would a volunteer have to work with you before handling songbirds?
48:26 – How long would a volunteer have to work with you before handling raptors?
49:53 – How long would a volunteer have to work with you before handling the Wildlife Ambassadors?
51:06 – How long would a volunteer have to work with you before handling Scout the Golden Eagle?
51:50 – Did Scout choose to work with you?
53:09 – What about for releases & hawking guests?
55:37 – How do I contact help is there is an animal emergency?
Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Parowan Gap Field Excursion Martin provided for the Washington Episcopal School.
A surprise visitor, a great basin rattle snake, posed for pictures for the students and teachers. Excited students were warned to stay back to give this rattler some space as students snapped photos to send their families back east.
Martin taught the value snakes have in the wild by eating small rodents to keep rodent populations under control. All native snakes including rattlers are protected by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. They are an important part of our ecosystem and we should treat them with respect.
Thumper, Cirrus and Scout helped with the program as well. You can see Cirrus looking up at the sky and Martin pointing up to the sky as he holds Scout. The birds kept looking up at a Golden Eagle that was soaring high above us.
Three easy ways you can help us to help the critters!
1) Our first short film, The Bald Eagle That Would Not Quit, is now available at Amazon: click to view. 🎬 Besides buying and gifting a HD or SD version for everyone you know, it would also be very helpful if you could leave a glowing review. Streaming is included in Amazon’s prime membership.
2) While you are there, might as well buy a few more copies of Healer of Angels and add your review: click to view! 📝
3) If you shop at Amazon, you can join the Amazon Smile Program to send a percentage of your purchase to us! It’s easy to sign up, more details here: click for more
In January of 2015, a very, very, sick bald eagle arrived at the rescue center. Initially, wildlife rehabilitator, Martin Tyner, did not think the bird would survive. Over nearly two months, the bald eagle continued to fight and, against all odds, grew stronger and healthier.
This film features footage of examinations and feedings as the bald eagle recovers. During sessions with the bald eagle, Martin shares extensive information about wildlife rehabilitation and notes positive signs of recovery.