Red-tailed Hawks, Sharp-shinned Hawks and Golden Eagles

Wonderful News! The young red-tailed hawk that was brought to the Southwest Wildlife Foundation by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources mid-January, has made a full recovery and been released back into nature. When he first arrived on the brink of death, he was less than half the normal body weight for a red-tailed hawk his age, which is less than a year old. To our pleasant surprise, he quickly began gaining weight and made a full recovery in just about a month allowing us to send him home.

According to, the oldest known red-tailed hawk was 30 years, 8 months old. Banded in Michigan in 1981, it was found once again in 2011 in the same state. It just so happens, that this breed of hawk is one of the largest birds you will see in North America, but even so, the biggest females weigh in at only about 3 lbs.

Typically, these beautiful animals survive on a diet of everything from jackrabbits and ground squirrels to mice and woodrats — even snakes and carrion. This particular red-tailed hawk however, was too emaciated to eat on his own, so wildlife experts began by first feeding him a diet of electrolyte formula enriched with Nutri-Stat formula, through a tube, with a syringe. As he regained his strength, he was moved to cut up mice and then small mice, before being reintroduced to larger game foods like pigeon, quail and rabbits.

"As many as 80 percent of birds of prey do not survive their first year,” co-founder Susan Tyner said. “All we can do is fatten them up and send them off to try and give them a second chance. And hope they make it.”

However, as the old adage says, what goes up, must come down; and with the departure of our red-feathered friend, we also saw the arrival of six new beautiful birds of prey this February — three golden eagles and three sharp-shinned hawks. While we would like to see all of our rescue endeavors end successfully with a release, sadly, that is not always the case. Out of the six birds that came to us, four died as a result of their injuries, one had to be euthanized and only one resilient sharp-shinned hawk found freedom again in the great outdoors.

This little guy was migrating north following a flock of songbirds when, it appears as though, he may have hit his head on a window and gotten himself a concussion. According to, “Up to one billion birds die each year in the United States when they hit glass windows, walls, and other structures, making this threat one of the most costly to bird populations.” Items like bird tape, “Zen Curtains”, sound-stop and adhesive dots can be used to protect both your home and the lives of these birds. More information about these products, and others like them, can be found at:

A New Home for Visitors and a Future Triage Center

You may remember reading about a new mobile office that was donated to the SWF in last month’s newsletter. We are pleased to announce that this 20 x 60 ft. structure has been completely cleaned out and prepped for the move thanks to the hard work of our diligent volunteers. Good Samaritans from our Construction and Development Committee and from the community came together to help clean out the mobile office, separate it into two pieces, frame and cover the open areas with plastic, and fix up the wheels in preparation for transport to its final home at the Cedar Canyon Nature Park.

The mobile office will be the temporary visitor’s center at the CCNP as we continue to grow, and it already has a restroom, light fixtures and a heating and cooling system in place. Additionally, we have been generously donated desks, chairs, binders and filing cabinets to organize important SWF documents once the building is in place on the property. We are excited to have the opportunity to have this building to use as we work towards raising the funds to build a more permanent structure to offer new services in our community at our future Welcome Center and Museum of Natural History. At that time, this building will be put to good use as our Wildlife Triage Lab and Rehab Offices.

The ground where the mobile office will be placed still needs some minor preparations, but as soon as that is done, the building will be relocated, put back together, and remodeled to prepare it as our first Visitor Center. Look for this to happen by mid-March. Some things we are still in need of to complete this project are: replacement ceiling tiles and replacement flooring, preferably vinyl or linoleum for ease of cleaning. Once this building is established it will allow us to further the mission of the SWF to rescue, educate and continue to develop the CCNP by allowing us to have staff onsite to take in rescues, offering a place to provide educational opportunities and tours of the nature park, as well as, train educators and volunteers. There will even be an onsite gift shop where we can earn much needed funds to continue our passionate work with wildlife.

Additional projects to keep an eye out for include finishing the fencing of our rehab yard, working on extending our parking lot and creating a native plant garden. If you’ve been waiting for just the right opportunity to jump in and get your hands dirty with us, wait no longer, the time to act is now, and the ways you can help are plenty!

And if monetary donations are your thing, we have come up with a variety of fun and creative ways to raise the funds for our 4,000 sq ft Welcome Center and Museum of Natural History and our Raptor Critical Care Center and Eagle Flight Chambers. The opportunities provided will allow donors to feel as though they had a unique role in making these structures a reality for the nature park, so keep an eye out for upcoming fundraisers to determine what works best for you or your business' budget.  Remember, every little bit helps and we appreciate all of our donors and supporters! You are the ones who make it possible for us to continue to provide care for these amazing animals.

Updates on the Kestrel Falcon and Recovering Golden Eagle

Many of you were outraged after reading the story of the golden eagle that was delivered to SWF by UDWR on January 5, after being hit by a car and having most of his tail feathers removed by an unknown culprit before being found severely injured. During the collision, the eagle's crop was split open,there was an injury to its elbow joint and eleven of his twelve tail feathers had been ripped from his body. With the help  of Cedar City Animal Hospital emergency veterinarian Dr. Norton, the Tyner’s were able to treat the eagles crop with sutures and then place him in a rehabilitation chamber to recuperate with as little disruption as possible.

Throughout the month of February, this extraordinary eagle has healed like a champ. The crop is completely healed, and his appetite is excellent. The Tyner’s believe that they will be able to move him into the 40-foot flight chamber by March, which will give him the opportunity to stretch his wings a bit and really let us know how they are healing. There is still some concern that even though his wing is healing, it may not heal efficiently enough to create the seal necessary for a full recovery.

No word has been returned on the status of the kestrel falcon we have commissioned to keep with the Southwest Wildlife Foundation for educational purposes. This little guy has been with us for over a year, and though we were hopeful that after molting he would be healed enough to set free, we have learned after many molts that this would not be the case. His injuries are too severe to allow the feathers to grow back in without falling out or becoming damaged. However, he is cute and sassy and we can’t wait to add him to our educational permit and programs. Stay tuned for what happens next, and for your enjoyment, enjoy these fun videos about him:

Kestrel Falcon Video #1
Kestrel Falcon Video #2
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