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2018 SWF April Newsletter

Eagles, Bunny Babies & Spring Projects!

Eagle Report

This April we have not had as many orphaned wildlife brought in as some past springs, however we have had a large volume of phone calls from all over the country concerning wildlife with people asking how to help them and seeking general information.  Educating the public is an important part of the work of the Southwest Wildlife Foundation. 

For those who have followed the story of the golden eagle that was brought in to the SWF in January after being hit by a car and having all but one of its tail feathers pulled out, we have sad news to report.  The eagle ended up being non-releasable and unfortunately its quality of life was not suitable for education, which means the only choice we were left with was to humanely euthanize it.  The collision with the car caused the eagle's full crop to be split open and injured its wing.  Though the eagle's crop healed completely, the damage to the wing was too severe, causing wing dragging and balance issues when he tried to move around his flight chamber.  Additionally, only four out of twelve tail feathers were able to grow back from the damage caused when the tail feathers were pulled out, which also assists with balance.  We want to thank everyone who showed so much love and support as we tried to save this poor eagle.  It is always heartbreaking to lose any of these magnificent creatures that come into our care.      

We are often asked what happens to an eagle that dies or is euthanized.  In answer to that question, all eagles are frozen and turned over to Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR).  They are then shipped to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) feather lab where the feathers and parts are marked and distributed to Native American groups for ceremonial purposes.

Two more golden eagles came in this month.  One sustained a concussion and was pretty banged up at the wind farms north of Milford.  The second had been feeding on road kill east of Richfield when it was found.  We are hopeful that both will be able to be released in the near future.

Doves, Grebes and Hares

Two mourning doves arrived at our rescue center this month.  One was able to be released, the other did not make it. 

We had two grebes brought to us during the snow and rain storms in April.  Grebes migrate at night and can only land and take off on water.  Unfortunately, wet roads and parking lots resemble rivers and lakes so grebes are sometimes found stranded or injured in such areas when they try to land.  Grebe's legs and feet are not designed for walking on land, but for swimming and running on the water, enabling them to take off into flight.  These two were able to be released at the lake on the hill in Cedar City and they were happy to join hundreds of others spending the day there. 

A baby jackrabbit was brought to us after being caught by a cat.  Raising baby jackrabbits or cottontail rabbits is extremely difficult and most die from bloat, improper feeding and stress.  Sadly this one did not survive.  Most people mean well when rescuing an “abandoned” baby rabbit, however most wild babies are not abandoned or orphaned.  The reality is fewer than 10% of orphaned rabbits survive a week, and the care that people attempt to provide can be illegal, unnecessary, and potentially harmful.  The best thing you can do is put the bunny back in the general area you found him and leave.  Their mothers only come back at night to feed their babies.

Jackrabbits are not true rabbits, but are actually hares.  Hares do not dig burrows.  Mothers separate their young, hiding them usually under some vegetation, but not always.  Sometimes they are out in the open.  The theory behind separating the young is that if one is discovered by a predator, they are not all lost.  Baby hares are born with their eyes open, fully furred and able to run.  Black-tail jackrabbits are the most common type of hare found in Utah, but we also have white-tail jackrabbits and snowshoe hares.  A newborn to two week old jack resembles a 3 to 6 week old cottontail.  Baby cottontails are born with their eyes closed and no fur.  Wild baby rabbits and hares do not imprint even when hand raised and have a strong natural wild instinct.  Please resist the temptation to rescue a baby bunny.

A young chipmunk arrived as well, but sadly it did not survive.  The photos below include a baby dove, grebes, a 3 week old cottontail being fed and a newborn baby jackrabbit.
Spring Projects

In our last newsletter, we mentioned a variety of projects we have scheduled for this year, as well as some new fundraisers we are implementing to help fund the continued development of the Cedar Canyon Nature Park.  Now that the weather has been warming up, April saw some volunteers out at the CCNP working on painting a shed, shoveling dirt, spreading and raking wood chips.  We have a large group of volunteers schedule for mid-May as well.  Anyone who may be seeking volunteer opportunities, please feel free to contact us and we will schedule a time and projects for you to work on.  We are also looking forward to the delivery of some picnic benches for our picnic area, donated by the Cedar City Tourism Bureau, the connection of the two sides of our First Phase Visitor Center, and a minor bridge repair, which will be followed by the mounting of our new, official bridge plaques which we have been working on perfecting over the past year. 

As many of you know, the bridge plaques are one of our fundraisers for the CCNP.  April saw the completion of our very first engraved landscape stone, which is one of our newly implemented fundraisers.  As landscaping around the trail head, Information Destination, and our Native Plant Garden are completed over the next few months, and more landscape stones are ordered, these personalized stones will be placed throughout, helping to fund many important projects and adding beauty and your personal touch!  A special thanks to Rainbow Sign & Banner/Decorworx who does our plaques and Etch N Carved who has been doing the work on our benches, landscape stones, and will be providing the work on our future paver stones for the entrance of our First Phase Visitor Center and our Welcome Center and Museum of Natural History as well.  Please contact us if you would like to participate in one of these fundraisers, how you can help, or for additional details about our upcoming projects!

Event Update

Additionally, please remember the Iron County Care and Share fundraiser to benefit multiple local charities, including the Southwest Wildlife Foundation!  Cedar City Motor Company has donated a 2018 Jeep Latitude, and other sponsors have donated prizes as well, including vacation packages, shopping sprees, scholarships and more!  You may enter once to earn an opportunity to win with each donation of $10.  This donation drive is currently open and will close July 13th!  You will have the opportunity to choose which charity you are donating on behalf of, and whichever charity receives the most will get an additional bonus to their share of the donations raised.  Please see Iron County Care and Share's website for additional details and the rules involved.

We would also like to express a special thanks to Vicki Swasey, one of our reptile specialists and wildlife rehabilitators and educators, who participated in the Fiddler's Elementary Green Team Animal Station Day and provided a booth with our reptile animal ambassadors so that the children could learn about our native reptiles and reptile safety.  Professor Jackie Grant from SUU's Garth and Jerri Frehner Museum of Natural History also took part teaching about animal tracks and scat!  Thanks to Alysen Tarrant who took pictures at the event and to Shelley Schneider who organized the event and invited us to take part!

The Southern Utah Space Foundation's first Star Party at the CCNP was a great success in April as well and we look forward to continuing to partner with them for these fun and informational programs!  A special thanks to all of those who joined up to help recognize our founder, Martin Tyner, for his 50 years of wildlife rescue work, and to our volunteers who oversaw our booth at GREENfest in Nevada!  All of these events were a great success thanks to our dedicated volunteers, partners and supporters!   
Copyright © 2018 Southwest Wildlife Foundation Inc., All rights reserved.

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