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
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 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!
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.
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.
In early evening of July 28th, Martin received a call about an injured hawk or type of bird out at the wind farm in Milford. He quickly got on the road for a long trip out to desert area in search of the injured bird.
While searching, he received word of another injured bird in the area, a young great horned owl.
This video includes his searches and shares a sample of all the road and foot time he puts in with wildlife rescues.
Martin also shares some advice about keeping alert on rural roads and how to report an injured animal if you come across one.
On June 4th, Martin got a call from a concerned woman about a Red Tailed Hawk on her property. He and Susan went out and found the Hawk in very bad shape. The Hawk was super super skinny and had help not arrived, Martin doubted it would have lasted another night.
Back at the rehab center, Martin estimated the Hawk was about a year old and in much need of some TLC. On arrival, the hawk had all kinds of lice to the extent of feather damage.
After a month under Martin’s care, the Red Tailed Hawk made a full recovery and on July 1st, was released back into the wild.
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.
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!
Belle’s First Hunt!
In this video, Martin and Belle head out into the desert to look for jackrabbits. Belle stays mostly perched on Martin’s arm as he walks quickly and sways his walking stick in search of jackrabbits.
Belle is still very young and not yet in top physical shape. She will need lots of practice yet.
Belle the Harris Hawk is one of our Wildlife Ambassadors. In addition to attending educational presentations with Martin, she is a falconry bird. Her full story can be viewed in this YouTube Playlist.