Falconry: Belle the Harris Hawk Season Two

Welcome to year two of Belle the Harris Hawk who arrived arrived from a breeder in New Orleans in August of 2018.

Falconry season began on September 1st. Training for the new season started a month prior. In this first video of her second falconry year, Martin shares his methods to get her ready and refresh her training.

In this video, we also introduce the “Belle Blog”. At present, it lists her previous videos and photos from her hunts. In the future, we hope to include a FAQ and perhaps a regular falconry podcast.

If you have questions or other suggestions for future Belle Videos and/or podcast, please send them to Martin@martintyner.com.

Please click here to visit the The Belle Blog

Arrival of young skinny eagle

This young golden eagle ended up in the backyard of a falconer. She was thin and weak after getting separated from her parents. The Falconer caught her and temporarily cared for her until Martin could come pick her up.

Martin gave her an exam and found no additional problems. Expecting a quick easy stay to give her time to regain weight and recover, he put her the large chamber with two other eagles.

There are certain behaviors Martin looks for to know when an eagle is ready for release. As of yet, she is not quite there. So she will stay a little longer until Martin is confident she is 100% physically fit and ready to start her second chance in the wild.

Questions about Eagles? See our FAQ:

Questions about Eagles (FAQ)

Two Hawks Released Back to the Wild!

On August 8th, Martin released two hawks: a young Cooper’s Hawk and a young Swainson’s Hawk. Both were orphaned chicks raised at the rescue center.

Properly raised, their behavior was very wild and untamed. Gathered up for their release to the world, they were as feisty to Martin as any other wild bird.

At release, they were well fed with full crops and had been given some live food to learn to procure their own food.

They were released just outside of town in a safe area with plenty of resources. All birds of prey face a tough learning curve in the wild. Martin’s work with them puts them at the same start they would have gotten with their parents. It’s up to them now to get things figured out and hopefully do well back in the wild.

A Very Special Guest!

A very special guest visited recently!
From Susan: “We enjoyed our visit with Gayle Bass! She is super nice and fun. She loved hawking with Belle, seeing the critters at our home and the Nature Park. We took her over the mountain to Cedar Breaks and back down through Brian Head and Parowan.”
Please check out her visit on RightThisMinute!

Eagle So Stuffed Full She Can’t Fly!

On August 11th, Martin received a call about a Golden Eagle behaving oddly. He and Susan went out to check on the eagle. Upon arrival, the homeowner pointed them in the right direction, then Martin and his net went in after the eagle.

After stirring the eagle from the top of a building, the eagle did glide down a short distance. Martin followed and with a good run, manage to capture the eagle which stayed on the ground.

On first examination, and seeing the size of the eagle’s crop, Martin was pleased. The huge crop meant the eagle had simply eaten too much to fly and was otherwise healthy.

After more of an examination and confirmation of a healthy young eagle, Martin got permission to release the eagle in a safe, shaded, rural area. All the eagle needed was time in a safe place to digest her huge meal.

Martin also reminded people to “Slow Down For Eagles”. They often eat road kill, so if you see them ahead of you on the road in rural or wilderness areas, slow down! Eagles are big and heavy and can’t quickly get out of the way. If they have eaten a huge meal, they can’t even fly.

Please click here to learn more about “Slow Down For Eagles“.

The Supplies Keep Rolling In!

So much thanks for so many seeds! All the birds flying through the Cedar Canyon Nature Park you!

Many MANY boxes arrived and Cody the Frisbee Ambassador has a new ‘do! We got a extra big order from Rodent Pro full of frozen meat for our wildlife ambassadors and three eagles currently with us in rehab. We also received many boxes from Amazon with even more supplies to care for the critters! Thank you to everyone for so much support and generosity!

Young Rabbit, Hawk & Little Bird Tales

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.

Young Golden Eagle Separated from Parents

On July 14th, 2018, Martin received a call about a Golden Eagle. He was led to the area by some people riding motorcycles then took off on foot in search of the eagle. With his net in hand, Martin surveyed the area and in just a few moments, caught sight of the Golden Eagle. He ran a bit to catch up and angle in, before the last dash in high gear to capture the bird.

On first inspection, Martin saw the eagle was very skinny and very young. He determined the eagle was a very young one, probably not long out the nest, that somehow got separated from his parents.

Martin brought the eagle back to the rescue center and immediately gave him a good meal and plenty of fluids loaded with nutrients. Once fed, the eagle was put into our largest chamber and left alone to begin to his recovery.

This eagle stayed nearly 6 weeks, gaining weight and growing stronger. On August 23rd he was released back to the wild where he belongs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How did Martin know the parents weren’t around?
Martin tracks all the nests in the area and knows mating and breeding time periods. From his knowledge of the area and nest as well as examination of the young eagle, Martin knew the eagle had gotten separated from the parents.

How old was the eagle?
Two and half to three months old, just out of the nest, probably 3 or 4 weeks.

Why did the eagle have to be taken back to the rescue center?
He was really, really skinny and needed care to regain health and proper weight. Even another day alone, he would have died. Life in the wild is not easy and eagles need to be in top physical shape to survive.

Why didn’t the eagle bite Martin?
The eagle very easily could have bitten Martin, even as weak as he was. Martin has been working with critters over 50 years and knows how to handle them. Nonetheless, he always takes much care and caution for the benefit of both the eagle and himself!

Why is the eagle so calm and tame?
This eagle was very thin, starved and weak. Generally, any time a wild animal acts tame, they are very sick.

Does the eagle know Martin is helping him?
The eagle has an instinctual fear of humans. Captivity is very stressful for them. All they want is to get away from him and back into the wild.

How does Martin know if the eagle is male or female?
He can’t know for absolute certain without a blood test, and sometimes, especially when they are so thin, it is hard to know. Mostly, females are larger than males. After 50 years of working with critters, Martin has a pretty good eye for noticing size differences. However, there is still some gray area between a smaller female and larger male. It does not effect their treatment though, so Martin does not subject them to a blood test which would cause added stress.

What was the eagle fed?
The eagle was fed differently throughout his stay. On arrival, the key was to get fluid and nutrients into him as soon as possible. Martin uses a special mix as well as some small mice. Martin usually only has to force feed them a few days until they have the strength to feed themselves. It is sometimes difficult to get them to eat while in captivity. As the eagle recovers, the food changes. They get a natural diet of mice, quail and jackrabbits. They are given the whole animal, not just meat, as they need all the parts of the animals.

Do eagles need water?
Eagles get most of the water they need from the food they consume. They can also find water in wild at lakes, streams, puddles and such. Fresh water is always available for them at our rescue center.

Did you name the eagle?
We do not name rehab animals. They are wild and need to stay that way. Once they are able to feed themselves, they are left alone as much as possible. Martin tosses in food and only enters when he has to examine them, move them, or clean the area.

Was the eagle taught how to hunt?
This eagle was given some live animals in order to learn how to kill and how to feed himself. Hunting is partly instinctual and partly learned. All eagles have to get it figured out through experience as they only spend a very short amount of time with their parents once they leave the nest.

Why wasn’t the eagle released where he was found?
Martin released the eagle in safe central area. This location allows the eagle time to orient himself. Since they fly, distance isn’t a big issue. They are released well fed with a full crop that will give them a few weeks to find their next meal.

What will the eagle do without his parents around?
This eagle would not have been around his parents much longer. Once they reach a certain age, the parents leave them on their own.

Will the eagle ever find his parents?
If the eagle did, the parents would drive him out of their territory. Shortly after they leave, the young eagles are on their own, this is why 80% don’t survive the first year.

How will the eagle survive on his own?
All birds of prey face a very tough learning curve, 80% don’t make it past their first year. They are not with their parents very long after they leave the nest. They rely primarily on their instincts and learning things from experience.

Will you track the eagle?
We are not permitted to tag rehab animals. There are special circumstances to tag animals, but to track every animal we see would get quite costly and labor intensive.

Has the eagle come back?
If he comes back, something has been done wrong, the eagle should not be bonded to Martin for food.

What do you do if you see an injured eagle?
It is best not to approach the eagle. Take note of the surroundings and location and call police dispatch, not 911, or local fish and game. They can send someone out to care for the eagle. To learn more, please visit our guide “How to Help Wild Animals”.

For more questions and answers about eagles, please see our FAQ here.


Slow Down For Eagles


Download Infographic (1000×1000 .jpg)
  • Though outstanding hunters, Eagles have a very high failure rate
    Eagles are very big with a wide wing span. Bigger is not always better when it comes to hunting. A smaller lighter male eagle can often have the edge over a larger heavier female eagle. For all their skills and amazing physical prowess, it usually takes many, many unsuccessful attempts before they finally capture their prey. Their hunts take longer and exert great energy, but their larger prey provides a meal that lasts them longer as well. They do not need to eat daily.
  • Combined with shrinking habitats, they often feast on roadkill.
    It takes a lot of effort to hunt for food especially in a limited habitat among much competition and obstructions. Roadkill is a lot easier to hunt. Eagles are opportunistic predators, they will take what they can get with the least amount of energy expended.

An Eagle with Full Crop


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  • A large meal increases the weight of Eagle
    Just as a pilot must track and balance weight on an airplane, so do birds. Their flight is dependent on a healthy weight and incredible physical fitness. It does not take much weight to throw off their optimal weight and balance for flight.
  • Extra weight creates added difficulty to resume flight and return to cover
    A large meal can weigh down a bird considerably. Not only does the added weight from a big meal make flying harder, it also lessens their incentive for flight. Already satiated, their will and attitude to work for food drops.

Eagles Are Large

  • Please slow down as a large, heavy Eagle needs time and distance to get off the road
    If you see birds, even smaller ones in the road, it is a good idea to slow down. If there are many birds eating roadkill, it may not be possible to see an eagle among them until it is too late.
  • Unlike smaller birds, Eagles cannot dart away from vehicles.
    For those in urban areas, you may be used to just driving along with birds in front of you in the road because most smaller ones are able to get out of the way. Small birds with small wing spans can flap away quickly. A Eagle and some other larger birds cannot. While driving in wildlife areas, please keep an eye out for objects in the road and slow down in order to better evaluate the situation and act accordingly.

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Hawk Saved Becomes a Last Act of Kindness

This video is about a Ferruginous Hawk and the family that saved him.

A man, Rob, brought an injured hawk to Martin. They had seen the hawk near the road. Rob’s son took off his shirt and used it to capture the hawk. Then they brought it to Martin.

In an initial exam, Martin suspected the hawk had been hit by a car. After placing the hawk in a chamber, the hawk showed problems with balance then blindness. Martin did a simple test of the hawk’s sight by moving his hand in front of the hawk. He concluded the hawk was not seeing him. Likely this was the effect of a concussion.

Martin did what he could for the hawk, making sure he had plenty of food and a quiet, dark place to heal. Fortunately, this hawk did recover after staying for a few weeks. The hawk began flying well and exhibiting other signs of a healthy hawk.

While the hawk healed however, Rob was in a bad car accident that took his life. For the hawk’s release, his family stepped in to release the bird in Rob’s honor.