Falconry: Prairie Falcon, Piper, Flying High!

Piper the Prairie Falcon arrived back in May of 2018. This is the sixth and final episode in the series about his early training in falconry.

This video includes three days of continued free flying practice, ending with his best flight yet where he adds a good amount of altitude and does a good stoop to get a pigeon.

To see each episode and watch his gradual training, please visit Piper’s Video Playlist here!

Turkey Vulture Release: Threatening and Hissing after 8 Months Rehabilitation

An injured Turkey Vulture arrived on September 30, 2018. After an exam, Martin discovered a break on his wing. It would take some time to confirm how the bird was healing, so for many months, the treatment was a dark, quiet place for the bird to heal.

The Turkey Vulture stayed nearly eight months as Martin monitored the health of the wing by periodic examinations and x-rays.

On May 15th, the well fed, healed, threatening and hissing Turkey Vulture was flying well and ready to return to the wild.

Martin Caring for our Wildlife Ambassadors

The Southwest Wildlife Foundation of Utah currently has five Wildlife Ambassadors:

These are birds that Martin takes with him to education presentations. Between presentations, they are part of the family and require daily care, attention and training.

A regular routine is essential to maintain the birds training the their relationship with Martin. Martin’s time and assurances through falconry techniques helps to calm the birds when they go into so many different types of situations during wildlife educational presentations.

This video shows Martin’s daily routine of checking in each bird at night and moving them into the house for bedtime. Then early in the morning, returning them back out to their chambers and feeding them a natural diet. The time they spend together each day is essential to their overall training and sense of well being.

Rescued Young Chipmunks

These young chipmunks arrived on May24th. They were very, very weak and dehydrated. They had been found just outside of their nest, with no mother around. After realizing how difficult it is to care for such young critters, the rescuers brought them to the Southwest Wildlife Foundation of Utah. Susan began around the clock care with a special formula thinned down to get plenty of electrolytes into them. After initial struggles to get them to take the formula, they began perking up and eating more. Feedings were every three hours while closely monitoring their weight.

Harris Hawk Training with Belle Pt 5

More training with Belle!

Belle arrived in August of 2018 and we’ve filmed her training and development since arrival. This is a part five in the series of her transformation from young hawk to provider and educator.

Her hunting provides natural food to all our Wildlife Ambassadors as well as any rehabilitating critters in our care.

Additionally, Belle is an educational bird. She goes along with Martin, Scout, Cirrus and Helen to Wildlife Presentations throughout the Southwest.

She has become an essential member of our team!

To see all her videos, please visit her playlist at YouTube!

Piper the Prairie Falcon Free Flights (pt 4)

The training of Piper, our male Wildlife Ambassador Prairie Falcon, continues! In this video, Martin takes him to a new area and continues their work. Piper is allowed to fly free!

In this session Piper is free to fly around and learn to be a wild Prairie Falcon. To bring him back, Martin tosses the lure. With practice, Piper will fly further and further and longer and longer. This is a difficult time in the training of a prairie falcon, Martin discusses the challenges and ways through them.

To view all videos about Piper, please view Piper’s Playlist.

Eagle Flight Chamber

World Class Raptor Rehabilitation Facility

Download .PDF Document about the Eagle Flight Chamber

The Cedar Canyon Nature Park


In October 2000, Rocky Mountain Power donated 22 acres of majestic canyon property in Cedar City to the Southwest Wildlife Foundation of Utah.

Step by step, with the assistance of countless local businesses and volunteers, we have been working to develop the Cedar Canyon Nature Park into a permanent wildlife rescue facility and nature park.

Flight Chambers


The reason for the Eagle Flight Chamber here at the Cedar Canyon Nature Park is because we rescue many eagles, both golden eagles and bald eagles, every year.

Currently, our largest flight chamber is 10 feet wide, 12 feet tall and 40 feet long. That’s fine for housing them, they are able move around a little bit, and falconry techniques can be used to get them further exercised for release.

We really desperately need a chamber that is 50 feet wide, 100 feet long and about 30 feet tall to give the eagles enough room so that they could actually fly and circle within the chamber to build up their wing strength and exercise before they’re released back to the wild.

The Eagle Flight Chamber
World Class Raptor Rehabilitation Facility

Here’s the concept, in any place that grows, especially alfalfa, we have hay barns. Hay barns are basically nothing but a roof supported by some metal pillars. Hay is stored under the roof to keep it out of the weather. There are no sides to these hay barns. We have lots of them here in Utah, they’re quite common.

For the eagle flight chamber, we would start with the completely open framed structure with just a metal roof type that is clean and smooth with no sharp edges that animals could get hurt by.
We would also purchase four 40 foot cargo containers and two 20 foot cargo containers. These containers would line up to form two sides of the outer walls and function as various sized smaller chambers.
From there we would use thin walled tubing, metal tubing, and weld the thin walled tubing going up vertically, so we have bars. So the first half is a solid wall with the cargo containers, then barring all the way around the top half of the flight chamber so that there would be lots of ventilation and the birds could see out.
A long narrow building in the center of the outer structure would leave about 20 feet on each end leaving a clear path for recovering large birds to circle around. That would be a big enough facility for the birds to circle and build up their strength and endurance.
Inside the center building would be a little observation area where the birds couldn’t see the public but the public could see out and see the animals exercising inside the chamber.

It’s a big, big facility, but again it would be a world class facility that these animals could get their exercise. Not just eagles but large hawks and owls and falcons could exercise in a facility like this.

The great thing is that our park here in Southern Utah is very centrally located which would allow us to receive other eagles that have been rescued by other rehabilitators and place them into our flight chamber. We could certainly see eagles coming from all over the United States to get exercise in the flight chamber. Not only could we help eagles in the flight chamber, but the California Condor which has been relocated here to Southern Utah.

The goal of the flight chamber is to care for the animals and secondly, to function as an educational facility.

The Southwest Wildlife Foundation of Utah

The mission of the Southwest Wildlife Foundation of Utah is threefold.

1) Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation

2) Wildlife & Environmental Education

3) Development of the Cedar Canyon Nature Park

We believe the Eagle Flight Chamber is a vital as well as monumental next step to fulfilling our mission.

A Monumental Structure

As the first major structure for wildlife at the park, it must also accommodate the following needs:

1) Work area for rehabbers and other staff.
2) Food storage and food preparation areas.
3) Reception and…
viewing areas for VIP Visitors.
4) Quarters for visiting student interns, academics or researchers.
5) Quarters for 24/7 on site caretakers.

Please Help

The community is so excited about what we’re trying to do, however, it’s small town Utah. Raising the funds is very difficult. We have to be able to reach out well beyond Cedar City and Southern Utah out into the rest of the country to say please help us.

This is something that your children, your grandchildren, your great grandchildren will be able to come to this amazing park and wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to say that you had a small piece in the development of the Cedar Canyon Nature Park?

We would love everyone to roll up their sleeves, give us a hand, and we’ll make this park a world class facility for everybody.




Download .PDF

Training Belle the Harris Hawk Part 3

Belle the Harris Hawk
Belle the Harris Hawk is our newest Wildlife Ambassador. In addition to attending educational presentations with Martin, she is a falconry bird. Her full story can be viewed in this YouTube Playlist.

Part three takes place at the Parowan Gap. Martin gives a recap of previous training then begins the next step: working with the lure.

Taking it step by step, Martin shows Belle’s first attempts and explains the process thoroughly.

More of her early training days will be shown in future videos.

Hawk, Hawk, Vulture, Eagle

Four Critter Tales

  • Cooper’s Hawk Not Quite Released

    Martin introduced a Cooper’s Hawk that he planned to release. In chambers, the hawk seemed ready, however after released in a more open area, Martin noticed the hawk was still not flying quite right. He brought him back and after a couple more weeks, the hawk was released was again, fully recovered.

  • Arrival of Sharp-Shinned Hawk

    This hawk was brought to Martin one night after having been caught up in fishing line. Martin examined the hawk, noticed some problems. The hawk stayed for awhile for some TLC and was released back to the wild.

  • A quick peek at the Halloween Vulture

    Susan takes a quick peek in at the recovering Turkey Vulture from a good distance away. As the birds recover, they are left alone as much as possible so they stay calm and do not get agitated and reinjure themselves.

  • Martin and Scout on the job!

    This is a snippet from an educational program Martin and his birds provided to the Las Vegas Audubon chapter. With Scout on his arm, Martin shares information about eagles and his an experience in hunting with his one of his eagles.

Slow Down for Eagles

In this video, we try to stress the need to be alert for eagles on the road. We show three of instances of eagles that were hit by vehicles and Martin discusses this problem, why it happens and how to help prevent it.

For more information, please visit our Guides page to download materials for sharing and classroom use.