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2018 SWF January Newsletter

Eagle Rescue, Birds of Prey and the Road

Eagle Rescue
On January 5th, a golden eagle was delivered to the Southwest Wildlife Foundation rescue facilities by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR).  This golden eagle had been hit by a car while feeding on road kill, which is unfortunately very common.  More eagles get hit by cars than are injured by power lines, windmills or other hazards combined.  This is a very serious problem.  It takes a lot more effort for large birds of prey to get airborne than their smaller agile cousins of the prey bird variety.  Animals on the road, just like human toddlers, do not have the same understanding as we do of just how quickly a moving vehicle can reach them.  A large eagle gorging on road kill does not realize he has to move out of the way until it is too late.  It also takes these birds much longer to take off when they have a full meal weighing them down than it normally would, putting them at even greater risk.  So please, be cautious and keep an eye out for any roadside obstacle, animal or other.  Slow down and give yourself some space if at all possible.

The tragedy of this particular case, is that sometime between the time of  the collision and the arrival of UDWR to rescue the eagle, all but one of the eagle's tail feathers were torn out.  It is illegal to possess an eagle feather without a special permit, not to mention it is incredibly painful for the bird to have its feathers pulled out.  If you come across an injured animal, or one that you think might be deceased, please respect the animal, you do not want to cause a helpless creature further suffering, and please know the laws if you are wanting to acquire any part of an animal for any reason.  

First inspection of the eagle upon arrival, Director of Wildlife Resources, Martin Tyner, found that the eagle's crop was split open, it was missing eleven of its twelve tail feathers, and it had suffered an injury to its elbow joint.  Determining that the crop needed to be sutured if possible, the Tyner's contacted local emergency veterinarian, Dr. Norton, of Cedar City Animal Hospital.  Martin held the eagle as Dr. Norton sutured the crop closed.  The eagle was then put into a rehabilitation chamber to rest while he recuperates.  The most important thing at this point is to keep the eagle quiet so that its elbow joint has the best opportunity to heal.  The fear with joint injuries is that if they seize up, there will be nothing further that can be done for the animal.  With that in mind, the Southwest Wildlife Foundation rehabilitation team has tried to disturb the eagle as little as possible as he heals. 

As of the end of January, the eagle's crop has been healing nicely, he is feeding himself, and it will take a little time to be sure if the joint injury heals properly.  As far as the tail feathers go, it can take a few months for the eagle to molt and grow in new feathers.  If the follicles of the feathers were damaged too much when the feathers were pulled out, they may not be able to grow back properly.  We are hoping for the best, that this eagle can make a full recovery and be returned to the wild where it belongs, but we expect this eagle to be with us for at least a few months as it has multiple hurdles to overcome on its road to recovery.  Please keep this beautiful bird in your thoughts and follow us on our social media pages for future updates.  A special thanks to Gayle Bass and Right This Minute for featuring this eagle's story on their channel.  Thanks to DG of RexRuff Web Site Construction for her hard work in editing our YouTube Videos and creating an infographic and flyer to remind and educate the public about watching for birds on the road.

Golden eagle hit by car.
Right This Minute video.
Red-tailed hawk, Cooper's hawk and Kestrel 
In mid-January, a red-tailed hawk was brought in to the Southwest Wildlife Foundation by UDWR on the verge of death.  This juvenile, born only last year, was so emaciated that it was half its normal body weight.  We are pleased to announce that he is recovering, gaining weight and should be released soon!  

Additionally, a Cooper's hawk arrived with a broken wing.  Sadly, the wing was too badly damaged and not reparable, so euthanasia ended up being the most humane option for it.

If you have been following our newsletters, you may recall the male kestrel falcon who came in with broken wing feathers over a year ago.  We were hopeful that once it molted and new feathers grew in, it would be returned to the wild.  However, after multiple molts, the new feathers have not been able to hold, and fall out or break off before they have grown back in fully.  This means that the injury the kestrel sustained damaged the feathers so much that they cannot grow back properly, leaving the kestrel unable to be returned to the wild as he cannot fly.  According to State Law, if an animal cannot be returned to the wild, it must either be euthanized or put on an educational permit.  Luckily for this little guy, he is a very good candidate for an educational wildlife ambassador. 

He was checked out by local veterinarian Dr. Thinnes, of Cedar Veterinary Clinic, to ensure that the kestrel was healthy and in good condition, besides the feathers, to be recommended for a wildlife ambassador.  With the Veterinarian's letter of recommendation, paperwork has been filled out and submitted.  The kestrel is doing well, getting accustomed to handling and being around people.  This is done to ensure that he will not be too stressed in a public setting and allow him the mental stimulation he needs to remain healthy and happy.  If, as we hope, our application to place him on an education permit is approved, he will join the Southwest Wildlife Foundation ranks of official wildlife ambassador, will be given a name, and when it is judged that he is ready, he will have the opportunity to attend educational events and help spread awareness on protecting these special animals. 
Mobile Office Clean-up, Upcoming Projects & Events
You may recall that a 40ft by 60ft mobile office building has been generously donated to the Southwest Wildlife Foundation to become our first phase Visitor Center at the Cedar Canyon Nature Park (CCNP)!  In February, volunteers will be cleaning out the mobile office and preparing it for transport to its final destination along Hwy 14.  With the amount of work our volunteers will be putting into preparing the mobile office for operation and finishing fencing in our rehabilitation yard on-site to allow for additional rescue work to begin being performed at the CCNP, you may not see as many of our booths around town this year at the various local events that Cedar City offers.  However, we are very excited to have a grand opening for the CCNP's very first Visitor Center.  Having a regular on-site presence and base of operations will increase our ability meet our mission of rescuing more wildlife, educating the public about wildlife and the environment, and continuing the development of the CCNP!  Once the Visitor Center is getting ready to open, we will begin training dedicated volunteers to help oversee the Visitor Center, answer phones, accept rescued animals, and provide education about our mission.  Consider getting involved now to prepare for this amazing opportunity!

Even though we may not be at as many of the local events around town this year, we have already begun planning our Campfire Concerts in the Canyon series for 2018!  Remember to mark your calendars for the last Friday of June, July, August and September beginning at 7pm!  We will have educational speakers, live music and a campfire for everyone to enjoy!  The event is free for the public as usual, just remember to bring a blanket and camp chairs!

The Southwest Wildlife Foundation is also partnering with Southern Utah Space Foundation to provide fun Star Parties at the CCNP on April 14th, May 12th and June 16th.  Star Parties are free for the public, run from 8pm to 10pm, provide fun educational information and you get to look through a telescope at the stars!  Keep an eye out on our website calendar and on the Southern Utah Space Foundation's website for more details to come.

We have also begun raising funding for our 4,000 sq. ft. Welcome Center and Museum of Natural History and our Raptor Critical Care Center and Eagle Flight Chambers.  If you would like to learn more about these projects or how you can get involved, please feel free to contact us!  We have a variety of other projects in the works as well, so if you are looking for something to get involved in, we would love to have you join in this fun and rewarding work! 

A special thanks to all of our amazing paypal and amazon donors, those who have been sharing our website, Founder's book, and YouTube videos, and for your continued support!  Learn more about how you can help us make a difference!  
Raptor Critical Care Center & Eagle Flight Chambers project.
Copyright © 2018 Southwest Wildlife Foundation Inc., All rights reserved.


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