A very young Desert Wood Rat arrived at the center in March 25th. This was our first ever young wood rat. With help from so many kind donations from our supporters, we were able to successfully feed and care for him. As such a unique and special guest, he is one of the very few rehab animals that got a temporary name while with us. We named this wood rat Woody. After a final exam by Martin, Woody was taken to a good habitat for wood rats and released back into the wild. We hope Woody makes the most of his second chance!
A Barn Owl arrived late afternoon on November 7th, 2019 from Utah DWR. We’d received calls about this owl throughout the day, and expected the arrival. Martin immediately examined the condition of the owl. After a first meal, the owl was taken to a small dark and mostly quiet chamber. It was near Belle the Harris Hawk’s outdoor chamber and she was not very quiet.
For two days, Martin checked on the owl frequently. The owl made it through the first night and was fed again the next day.
Despite showing some signs of recovery, when Martin checked on the owl early in the morning of November 9th, the owl had passed.
After a two month stay, a very big, strong and fat female Golden Eagle was released back to the wild. She arrived on August 4th as a young and very skinny eagle. She was found by a falconer who gave her some food then called Martin to care for her. After an initial examination, Martin thought she would just need to stay a little while to eat a lot and regain her strength before being released for her second chance to make it in the wild.
It turned out she needed a little more time, staying just over two months. On November 9th, Martin caught her from the large chamber she’d shared with the juvenile white belly bald eagle, and put her in a kennel to take her up to the C-Overlook for release.
Though we normally try to organize a public release, today we let the camera be the means to share this release with our growing online audience. Martin took the opportunity to answer a lot of common questions we’ve seen in emails and comments.
FAQs in this video:
9:00 – About the “hood”
9:30 – About weight and “keel” bone
11:38 – About the young eagle and her parents relationship
12:20 – Why it is so hard for Birds of Prey to survive
12:48 – About her rehabilitation process
13:55 – About her weight and second chance
14:30 – About where she will be released and why that place is chosen
15:30 – About how she will survive her first five years
16:20 – About her time of release and weather conditions
17:00 – Do we train them?
17:30 – About banding and birds returning
19:50 – Why we hold public releases
20:50 – Why don’t we just release the eagle out of the box?
23:30 – About the eagles feet
23:47 – Differences between Golden Eagle and Bald Eagle as juveniles and adults
25:20 – Effect of Martin holding the eagle
26:00 – Why doesn’t the eagle fight Martin?
27:30 – What the eagle may do just after release
Our first tale is of a baby pygmy cottontail rabbit arrived from Santa Clara, Utah. It was brought to us in a small box with blood on its nose and appeared to be in shock. The rescuer said two cats had it cornered and he wasn’t sure if it was hurt.
Susan observed that most likely the baby had left the nest and appeared to be about 3 weeks old and at this point formula was no longer needed and could cause harm. With their delicate digestive system and the stress of handling, it was better to not force anything but to leave it quiet with food available.
We placed the baby rabbit with a small hiding box into one of our small fabric puppy playpens. We left it with fresh alfalfa and native grasses in its quiet darkened safe place where we just continued to add fresh food for the first week. Water was also made available, however wild rabbits get most of their water from the plants they eat or from morning dew on the plants.
The second week it stayed in a slightly larger cage where we continued to provide natural grasses and alfalfa until its release back to the wild. We relocated it to an area with other pygmy cottontail rabbits where cover and food was abundant.
Our next tale is of a young Cooper’s hawk that had fledged and left its nest. The parents have begun their migration, leaving their young to figure out how to find food on their own.
We frequently have coopers hawks hunt pigeons in our yard as they migrate through our area. This is common as they follow flocks of small birds which is their primary diet and are occasionally seen speeding through backyards snatching small birds attracted to backyard feeders.
While sitting in the front yard one evening, Susan was with Martin as he was holding and manning Belle. Martin pointed out the young coopers hawk and young pigeon to Susan as they moved around on top of our pigeon coop. After watching them for several minutes Susan began to video as it was very apparent that the pigeon and the hawk were both unsure how to handle the situation.
The pigeon was lucky this time as the hawk hadn’t learned yet how to catch something so large, but when the hawk gains experience, next time the pigeon might not be so lucky.
Other tales in this video include the care, feeding and release of many house finches, a Wren and a Kingbird.
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!
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.
The Southwest Wildlife Foundation of Utah currently has five Wildlife Ambassadors:
- Scout the Golden Eagle (view Scout’s videos)
- Cirrus the Prairie Falcon (view Cirrus’ videos)
- Piper the Prairie Falcon (view Piper’s videos)
- Belle the Harris Hawk (view Belle’s videos)
- Helen the Peregrine Falcon (view Helen’s videos)
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.
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.
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!
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.