Dear Friends of the Southwest Wildlife Foundation,
I apologize for not providing updates in the last month. Susan and I have been incredibly busy. Both the wildlife rescue and the wildlife education have kept us running like mad. Let’s see if I can bring you up to speed.
The two baby great horned owls have been successfully raised and released back to the wild about three weeks ago and they are both doing wonderful. All of the baby kestrel falcons have been released, as well as a pot load of sparrows, robins, doves and so on.
In the last couple of weeks, I have received three young orphaned golden eagles. All three of them came from different locations, but the reason they were orphaned were all the same. In late June we had a spell of extremely hot weather right at the time the young eagles were learning to fly. All three young eagles became separated from their parents, ended up on the ground, and were dying from the oppressive heat, all three on the very edge of death. Intensive care, fluids, and food; their lives have been saved and in August they will be ready to be returned to the wild.
Yesterday we released a Swainson hawk into the wild and received two orphaned pigmy owls. That’s how it goes; you release one and your get two. The flow of sick, injured and orphaned critters this year had been constant.
Back to the eagles: there is a common belief among many native people, that if you say your prayers with an eagle feather, the eagle feather will carry your prayers to God. An eagle has over seven thousand feathers. When we have an eagle ready for release, we will frequently seek out individuals or organizations that could use some extra prayers and allow them to release the eagle.
Here is where all of you come in; I could use a little help. I can contact the local newspaper and television stations and tell them I have an eagle ready to be returned to the wild, and the media people will say, “What is this the 15th eagle this year? Martin, that’s not news.” But if somebody rich or famous, or a high profile organization would like to come and release an eagle, then we are able to get the media coverage we need to continue to seek donations for our wildlife rescue center.
So if anyone has contacts, connections, friends that could help put us in touch with individuals or organizations that would like to release an eagle, please let me know as quickly as possible.
Thank you everyone for your kind and generous donations to the Southwest Wildlife Foundation, and a big thanks to all of our employees at Tyner’s Grooming and other volunteers who have given so much of their time to help us care for all of the small birds.
Bring your families and friends! Bring camp chairs or blankets to sit on. We lite the CAMPFIRE at 8:00 PM Free marshmallows for roasting. MUSIC starts at 8:30 PM
Parking by the fence at the Cedar Canyon Nature Park, just 1.5 miles east of Cedar City’s Main Street on Highway 14. Walk across the Green Bridge and go left (East) less than 100 yards to the Campfire Program Area!
These two great horned owls came from two different locations in southern Utah. One was found at one day old, when his nest was blown down in a storm, and brought to the Southwest Wildlife Foundation in Cedar City, Utah. The other was a about three weeks old when he was brought in for care.
These babies are almost seven weeks of age in this video. They are at an age we call them fledglings. Baby owls and many other types of birds outgrow their nests very quickly, before they are able to fly well, and spend some time on the ground near the base of a cliff or large tree where their nest may have been.
They exercise their wings and gain strength and the parents will feed them and encourage them to fly or hop from rock to rock or branch to branch to regain some height for safety.
It is best to leave baby birds where they are unless they are in immediate danger. Keep your pets and children away from the fledglings on the ground, or you can place them back in their nest tree (not necessarily the nest) or another location out of the reach of dogs and children.
These two great horned owls are growing very quickly. They can eat up to 10 mice a day each while they are growing.
They’re nest box has been moved outdoors to a larger rehabilitation chamber.
They do not make good pets and it is illegal to keep them as pets. These are being raised by federal and state licensed wildlife rehabilitator, Martin Tyner of the Southwest Wildlife Foundation. They were found at different ages by two different people in two different locations and were unable to be returned to the nest. One came to us at approximately one day of age.
They are now fledglings. If you find a baby like this on the ground, it is normal. Do not be tempted to “rescue it”. They outgrow their nest and leave it before they can fly. Their parents will continue to feed them on the ground and soon they will learn to fly and follow their parents as they learn to hunt for themselves.
The babies have all they can eat while they are growing. When they finish their growth stage we will introduce live mice for them to catch.
Good Morning Friends of the Southwest Wildlife Foundation,
Martin Tyner here: for the last few weeks our orphaned great horned owl has provided our weekly updates. This week I thought I’d take my turn. Both baby great horned owls are doing well, growing like weeds and eating us out of house and home. In the next few days they will be moved out of my home and into a rehab chamber where there will be very little human contact, which will allow them to grow up to be wild, beautiful great horned owls. We’ve had a couple of releases this week. The most unique was a broad-wing hawk. It was injured on the Southern Utah University campus. His injuries were minor; he was only with us for a few days and then released. Here is the unique part. Just for fun, I want everyone to go on the internet and do a google search for broad wing hawks and ask yourself; how did this beautiful hawk end up in downtown Cedar City Utah?
The second wildlife release was a big, beautiful, female great horned owl that was hit by a car about a hundred miles north in Fillmore Utah. Her injuries were minor. After two weeks of good food she was ready to be returned to the wild.
Whenever I release one of these beautiful creatures back into the sky I fully expect them to head for the horizon disappearing from sight. Of course I’m only human, and deep in my heart I hope for some small recognition: a look back, a circle overhead, a gift, something to acknowledge that the creature that I’ve cared for understands and somehow appreciates the love and care that we’ve provided. I know that sounds a little bit ridiculous, these are wild animals and for the most part they want to get as far away from me as possible. Remember I am the one who inserts a feeding tube down their throat, sticks them with needles, puts in stiches, takes out stiches; to many of them I am this big mean human that just added to their pain and suffering, not understanding that everything was done to help their recovery. So I completely understand when they blast out of my arms and head for the high country.
This great horned owl release was a bit unique. We took the owl about 15 miles north of town to some really good habitat. I got my camera ready. I removed the owl from the airport kennel. As I was preparing to release her back to the wild I held her in my left hand, held my camera in my right hand up to my eye to see if I could get a couple shots of her as she flew away. As I released her I started clicking off pictures as quickly as possible and we watched her disappear over the horizon. Not a glance back, not a circle in the sky, just disappeared very quickly. As Susan and I drove home we felt happy the beautiful owl was back in the wild; one less mouth to feed. It’s now time to clean out the chamber and get it ready for our next patient.
After arriving home I pulled the memory card out of my camera and downloaded the pictures onto my computer. It’s very hard to even get a usable photograph of a wildlife release when you are the person doing the releasing so I really didn’t expect much. Here is the photograph that I took, as the owl flew away she dropped one small downy feather and that small feather danced in the breeze and remained in the sky overhead long after she had disappeared over the horizon. Finding that photograph, a few hours after the owl was released, is kind of like doing someone a great kindness and then a couple of days later, finding a thank you note and a plate of homemade cookies on your doorstep.
If anyone would like to help the Southwest Wildlife Foundation they can make donations to:
P.O. Box 1907
Cedar City, UT 84721
As you can see from my picture, I have a new roommate. She is also a great horned owl and about 4 or 5 days older than I am. She had fallen from her nest and was picked up by a farmer and his children. They though it would be fun to raise her as a pet. Unfortunately they were feeding her cat food which gave her a very upset tummy. It’s kind of like getting a new roommate whose last meal before moving in was a big pot of beans. Last night she had a terrible case of the squirts and the smell could be weaponized.
Fortunately for me birds have little to no sense of smell. But she really messed up our nest box. When Mr. Tyner came down stairs for our early morning feeding you could see how bad the smell was from the look on his face and the tears in his eyes. He immediately removed us from the nest box, cleaned up the papers and the rags and hauled the stinky mess outside as quickly as possible.
This is one of the problems with people trying to raise baby wild animals. Most people don’t realize that we have a very specific diet provided by our parents. In order to raise us successfully we need that diet duplicated exactly.
My favorite food is mice. I eat the heads, the bones, the fur; the entire mouse. This helps to give me a balanced diet. When owls eat the right kind of foods, our poop has very little smell. We like being clean.
My new roommate and I are very expensive to feed. We will both eat approximately 10 mice a day at $1 each, so if you would like to help the Southwest Wildlife Foundation continue to provide yummy meals for both of us and all of our friends, donations can be made to www.gowildlife.org
Here is my latest picture; I’m obviously having a bad hair day.
Sunday was very busy for the Tyner’s.
Mr. Tyner’s telephone rang at 7:00 in the morning. A pickup truck hit a golden eagle on the Minersville Highway just south of the town of Minersville. The person driving the truck was very upset, he said he has never hit an animal before and was devastated that it was an eagle.
Mr. & Mrs. Tyner immediately jumped into their car and drove more than 40 miles each way to rescue the golden eagle.
Here is the good news. By the time the Tyner’s arrived the eagle had flown approximately 300 yards to the east; and as Mr. Tyner approached, the eagle flew off, sore but uninjured. Everyone was relieved, especially the gentleman who hit the eagle.
Some more good news; the adult great horned owl that the Tyner’s received last week that was hit by a car up in Fillmore Utah is doing well, flying around in the flight chamber and should be releasable soon.
As you can see in the photographs she is incredibly beautiful, I can’t wait; in about 6 weeks I will look just like her and be ready to start flying.
P.S. Check out the video: I’ve learned a new trick! I can swallow mice whole!
Unfortunately when people find baby birds of prey they try and give them water, milk, bird seed, lettuce, hot dogs, hamburger, or bacon not realizing how bad those things are for me. Great horned owls eat almost exclusively rodents of all kinds; mice, rats, gophers, etc. This is why we are so beneficial to our environment.
Owls do not make good pets. This little guy will be released when he is full grown and learns to hunt and catch mice and small rodents on his own.
Here are pictures of our latest rescue and our first baby of the year.
Even though I’m so little and Mr. Martin Tyner who rescued and is caring for me did not have the opportunity to see my parents or my nest, he is quite certain that I am a great horned owl.
In as little as nine weeks I will be full grown and flying, but until then I will be eating lots and lots of mice. Mice are my favorite food and when I get bigger and I’m really hungry I can eat as many as 12 mice a day.
Enjoy this short video of me having breakfast my second morning at the SWF. The little white spot on the tip of my beak is called an egg-tooth which I used to peck my way out of my egg when hatching.
The next video is only 2 days after the first video. I am about 4 or 5 days old now. I don’t know if you can tell how fast I grow but I feel like I double in size every day.
The first photo is me on the first day I came to the Southwest Wildlife Foundation. Of course I had been warmed and given several meals before I had my picture taken. At first I got fed every two hours, but now I can eat bigger meals so I can go three hours between meals. For some reason at 2:00 in the morning Mr. Tyner sure looks tired.
If you would like to help Martin Tyner and the Southwest Wildlife Foundation to care for me, donations can be made through their website www.gowildlife.org or mailed to:
Southwest Wildlife Foundation
P.O. Box 1907
Cedar City, UT 84721
Have a Wonderful Week!