Young and Skinny Great Horned Owl

Martin was called about this owl near the side of a road. It had been hit by a car and was unable to fly. Upon catching the owl, Martin noticed he was very thin.

Feeling nothing broken, Martin determined likely a concussion and soft tissue damage.

The owl stayed with us for about a month rehabbing and was released on October 16th.

Two Great Horned Owls Released!

Two Great Horned Owls were released back to the wild this past Father’s Day. Martin invited everyone out to C-Overlook and asked all Fathers to enter a draw to be the ones to release the Owls.

Martin’s Letter

Dear Friends of the Southwest Wildlife Foundation,
Next Sunday is Father’s Day and if there is one thing I’ve learned in my 62 years of life, being a father has very little to do with biology. The truth be known I have never met my father. He was a man who abandoned my mother, my brother, my sister and I when I was 2 years old.

It is my understanding that he ran off with his mistress and I have never seen his face or heard his voice. You may be asking yourself why, as father’s day approaches that I would be reflecting back on something so sad. The truth is, it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me because in my life I have had at least four fathers. Four amazing men who are responsible for making me the person that I am today.

 The greatest man I’ve ever met was my grandfather, a kind gentle soul who drove a laundry truck. My grandfather stepped up in my early years to fill the role as father. He gave me my morals, my integrity and my love for all living things. My grandfather gave me one piece of advice that I have lived by my entire life. “Get up every morning and do good.”

My second father was my stepfather. This man stepped up and took on the responsibility, some might even say a burden, marrying a single mother with three children. He was always kind, but most of all he loved my mother to the day he died.

My third father, was my Scout Master Mr. Clark. As a retired Marine survival instructor, he took on his role as Scout Master with a dedication that I’ve never seen before or after. Mr. Clark taught me most of the life skills that I use every day and for that I will always be grateful.

My fourth father was my mentor, Hubert Wells, a multi-generational Hungarian falconer who took me under his wing and taught me to fly birds. His patience, guidance and encouragement has set me on a path that has become my life’s work.

As you can see in my life, fatherhood has had nothing to do with biology. A father is a person with strength, integrity, honesty and a willingness to help a young boy grow into a man. As Father’s Day approaches I have been thinking about what I could do in my own way, not only to honor my fathers, but all fathers. Here is what I’ve come up with.

Fathers are wise, kind and gentle and in our culture the symbol of wisdom is the great horned owl. I currently have two great horned owls that have been orphaned and brought to my rescue center. The owls are now large and beautiful, flying in their chambers and feeding themselves. It is now time to release them to the wild.

I would like to dedicate the release of these two beautiful great horned owls to all fathers everywhere, so this is what we’re going to do. At 8:00 in the evening on father’s day, anyone that would like to participate in the release of these great horned owls, please show up at the C Overlook above Cedar City. We will have a free drawing for all the fathers in attendance. We will chose two names and each of the lucky fathers will have the opportunity to release one of our great horned owls.

This will be an opportunity to hold a big beautiful owl in your hands and release it to the sky. Please come and join us. I look forward to seeing everyone at the Father’s Day Great Horned Owl Release.

Martin Tyner, Founder & CEO
Southwest Wildlife Foundation

Rescued Saw-whet Owl babies!

It’s spring, or better known to us “baby animal rescue season”.
Our latest rescue, 6 baby saw-whet owls.

A property owner had a large dead tree on their property cut down, not knowing that 30 feet up in the tree was a nest of saw whit owls in an old woodpecker hole.

After the tree was cut down and they started cutting the trunk into firewood size sections. They cut through the bottom of the nest and somehow they barely missed the chicks.

Of course the first phone call from the woodcutter was to the Southwest Wildlife Foundation.

The baby owls were brought to the SWF healthy and unharmed. The biggest problem that we have is they are old enough for their fear instinct to kick in; which makes them vicious little creatures and very hard to feed,so I am looking forward to lots of needle sharp talons puncturing my fingers and tiny but extremely sharp little beaks biting my hands for the next couple of weeks; until they become acclimated and can feed themselves.

I’m sure glad these baby owls aren’t the size of eagles.


Baby Flammulated Owl

A baby flammulated owl fell out of its nest near the horse race track in Beaver Utah. A conservation officer with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources retrieved the young owl and brought it to Martin Tyner, federally licensed wildlife rehabilitator with the Southwest Wildlife Foundation in Cedar City, UT where it will be fed and cared for until it is able to be released back to the wild.

The flammulated owl is the smallest owl found in Utah. It will be approximately 4” in height full grown. They are the only dark eyed owl in Utah. Their preferred nesting site is old abandoned woodpecker holes in trees. Their preferred diet is primarily large insects and small mice.

Watch more Owl videos!

Rescued Great Horned Owl Released | January 2017

Susan and Martin got the call at night before they went to bed and a couple hours later UDWR delivered another great horned owl that was extremely thin, has some broken feathers and some balance problems. It was found out on the Milford Flats and was probably hit by a car, but Martin found no broken bones and he did eat last night which is good.

You can see the owl’s beak looks a little tweaked, but he is still able to use it and open his mouth to eat just fine. They usually swallow small rodents whole.

Great Horned Owl Release | Jan 25, 2017

This great horned owl was brought to the Southwest Wildlife Foundation Rescue Center by Utah Division of Wildlife Resources on January 3, 2017 after it was found near Delta Utah.

UDWR was very suspicious of the circumstances concerning this owl as it was found near a half a dozen dead doves and another dead owl missing its wing. Suspicions were it may have been shot.

Upon close inspection by Martin Tyner, wildlife rehabilitator at the SWF, he could find no lead pellets in the owl, but did discover several small holes. This owl was fortunate that it has recovered from its injuries and was able to be released today at the Parowan Gap, in Iron County Utah, by Jerri Frehner where about 30 people gathered to watch its release and hear its story.

Release of Great Horned Owl

This great horned owl was brought to the Southwest Wildlife Foundation, Inc. by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources in November. It had been hit by a car west of Cedar City receiving a severe concussion which caused it to lose its vision and balance. Within a week of its arrival into our rehabilitation it was able stand and feed itself. Its vision was also returning but it still suffered from neurological and balance issues.

After two weeks in our care it was able to fly back and forth to the perches in its rehabilitation chamber. It was well on the road to a full recovery and after a month in rehabilitation it was released late in the afternoon on December 28 by Douglas Chang the president of the Las Vegas Chapter Audubon Society. Several spectators met up at the Rush Lake Ranch along the Minersville Highway, just north of Cedar City Utah for this release, but since the trees there were full of wintering bald eagles, we drove out to the Parowan Gap where the owl was released back to the wild.

Great Horned Owls growing like weeds

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.

New Roommate

Hey Everyone,
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.

web pic 2 owls
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