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2017 SWF July Newsletter

The Month of the Eagles

(Title photo of flying eagle credit Alysen Tarrant) July is still fledgling time.  Many smaller species are still leaving the nest, but most of the larger hawks and eagles have been out of the nest for a few weeks.  During the month of July, the total number of wildlife we have cared for this year jumped to over 100, matching the amount of wildlife we rescued for the entire year of 2016!  

The golden eagle that was discovered in a slot canyon in Escalante by Jim and Caitlin Clery of Utah Canyon Outdoors, carried out of the canyon by BLM Ranger Michael Thompson and delivered to the SWF on June 23rd was just the first of five young golden eagles that came into our rehabilitation center in less than a month.  Young eagles occasionally are separated from their parents and are unable to feed themselves.  With the excessive heat that we have had this summer, all five of these young golden eagles, coming from five different locations in southern Utah, were found starving to death, emaciated, dehydrated and suffering from the extreme heat.

Fortunately for them, they were spotted by concerned citizens who reported their locations to proper authorities; the BLM, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Police Dispatch and the Southwest Wildlife Foundation.

Martin Tyner, our Founder and Director of Wildlife Services for the Southwest Wildlife Foundation, administered lifesaving electrolyte fluids mixed with a high calorie nutritional paste through a tube to four of these five eagles as soon as they arrived.  Tube feeding takes special skill and knowledge to ensure the nutrition goes into their crop and not into their lungs which would kill them.  With nearly fifty years of experience under his belt, Martin has provided this life saving service thousands of times.  Following the tube feeding of fluids, the eagles are hand fed a couple of large mice which have been cut in half and soaked in the same liquid mixture, and are then placed in a quiet rehabilitation chamber to rest.  

Some were in such critical condition they were fed three times in the first 24 hours. Only one of these eagles was able to feed itself upon arrival.  The others were hand fed until they began to feed themselves.  All five have made a full recovery and three have already been released back into the wild!

Our first eagle, rescued around the same time as the massive Brian Head Fire began, was released on July 21st on Brian Head Peak by Brian Head Fire Fighter Bob Goldhirsch.  For those of you familiar with the SWF, you may recall that there is a common belief among many native peoples that if you say your prayer on the feather of an eagle, that eagle will carry your prayers to God.  With this belief in mind, and in an effort to touch lives, spread awareness, and provide wildlife education to the public, the SWF will often dedicate wildlife releases to a group or individual who could use some extra support and prayers.  This eagle release was dedicated to all of the fire fighters who fought the Brian Head fire, as well as all of those who were displaced or otherwise affected by and during the fire.  

The second eagle, discovered in the Red Cliffs Recreational area by visitors to the area and then rescued by BLM Ranger Scott, was sent back into the wild on July 27th in a release dedicated to the Forest Service Fire Fighters who work diligently and are sent all over to fight dangerous wild fires.  Fire fighter Robert Lopez was the representative who released this eagle.  He had lost a dear friend and fellow fire fighter a few years previously, and the two sons of a fallen fire fighter from the Granite Mountain Hot Shots division, Fire Fighter Thirsten, were in attendance for this touching release as well.

Our third eagle was discovered trapped in a mine pit.  It was released on July 29th by Operation Underground Railroad (OUR) representative, Tevya Ware.  The golden eagle is considered the world's eagle, as it is found on every continent except Antarctica, and is one of the most commonly used symbols all over the world.  OUR is a non-profit organization that travels all over the world rescuing people, particularly children, from human trafficking and the sex trade.  This eagle release was dedicated to all those who are fighting human trafficking and all those who are or have been trapped in this form of slavery.  OUR's motto is "freedom for all", so they were honored to be able to take part in this special eagle release and partner with the SWF.

Our fourth and fifth eagle, a male and a female, are scheduled to be released on Sunday, August 6th at 11am at the C Overlook above Cedar City, UT.  This upcoming eagle release will be dedicated to the LIPPO Group, an organization whose founder, Mochtar Riady, has dedicated his life to the betterment of all, and local philanthropists Steve and Cyndi Gilbert and their family.  Steve Gilbert is the owner and founder of Gilbert Development Corporation, a local earthworks and mining company dedicated to the welfare and health of the community, and the ethical treatment of all--humans and animals alike.  Both of these groups are always looking for ways to give back to their communities and we appreciate all they do.  

Watch our website calendar and Facebook pages for other upcoming events and releases.  DG, from RexRuff Web Site Construction, designer of the SWF's website and social media advisor, has been hard at work editing video footage of each of these special releases.  Follow us on Facebook and YouTube for upcoming videos!  See the first video of the Brian Head Fire eagle release below.

Brian Head Fire Eagle Release
The three fledgling kestrel falcons that arrived in June feathered out and were released on July 8th during a special children's release dedicated to Utah Foster Care.  Three youth who are in the foster care system or who had been adopted out of the foster care system were chosen to perform the release of these three beautiful kestrel falcons. https://www.facebook.com/amy.k.bates.5/posts/10214082132032203

The little pygmy owl was released on July 11th and the Cooper's hawks that arrived in June were release on July 15th. https://www.facebook.com/southwestwildlifefoundation/posts/1615904235098798

We had quite a few fledglings and injured animals brought into our care as well during July, including a variety of finches, sparrows, hummingbirds, blackbirds, kingbirds, flycatchers, robins, a western tanager, barn owl, red tailed hawk, Swainson’s hawk, ferruginous hawk, baby squirrels, chipmunk and one baby pygmy rabbit.  Some of these were able to be released, while others did not make it or were so severely injured that euthanasia was the only legal and humane option.

The pygmy rabbit and ferruginous hawk are both considered sensitive species and we are happy they are both doing well.  The pygmy rabbit is almost ready for release and will be released in the next week in appropriate habitat near Cedar City where a pygmy colony is known to be located.

The young ferruginous hawk was severely emaciated and dehydrated, much like the eagles, having a few very critical days, but is now improving.  The ferruginous hawk is the largest hawk in North America, however this one is the smallest ferruginous Martin has ever seen, the size of a male red tailed hawk.
 
The Swainson’s hawk fell out of the nest much too young and while the parents would have attempted to keep feeding and protecting it, dogs in the yard were a danger to it so the property owner rescued the baby and a Sensitive Species Biologist with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources in Cedar City made the trip out west to rescue this little guy and deliver it to the SWF for care.

Pictures below include female kestrel falcon held in a youth's hands in preparation for release taken by Melani Wright, pygmy rabbit receiving a feeding by volunteer Becky Forney, male ferruginous hawk in rehabilitation chamber, young swainson hawk in a makeshift nest. 
In July we received generous contributions of funding to help with wildlife care thanks to Jim and Caitlin Clery who put together a Facebook fundraiser as well as collection jars at businesses in Escalante where their business is located.  Over $600 was raised to help provide food and care for the influx of animals we received in July!  We also received generous contributions of supplies and tools from our wish list from two generous donors who wish to remain anonymous.  One of the collections of supplies and tools was dropped off in person to Tyner's Grooming at 490 S Main St #7, Cedar City, UT 84720, which is the business owned by the founder's of the SWF, and the other was delivered to our PO Box 1907, Cedar City, UT 84721 from Amazon.com, where our web volunteer, DG, set up our wishlist online.  Keep an eye out for more information about that to come!

A biology student and her family came out from California to visit with the SWF for a week in July to learn about what we do and donate their time for various projects at the Cedar Canyon Nature Park (CCNP).  These included staining the wood benches at the CCNP, weeding, and collecting sandstone for the Information Destination's sandstone facade.  The final work for the septic system for the Information Destination was completed in July and back-fill and leveling work began.  Now begins the finish work where we get to really start seeing what the facility will look like complete!  Signage is in production and insulation is scheduled for the second weekend of August.  Roofing, doors, and siding are all scheduled to begin the third week of August and we have volunteers lined up for the fourth weekend of August to start painting.  We are planning to have an official ribbon cutting ceremony, a bench placing in our nearby Native Plant Garden, a Bird of Prey Program and our final Campfire Concert of the 2017 season to coincide with the SWF's 20 Year Anniversary at the end of September.  You won't want to miss this special occasion!

Our July Campfire Concert was so much fun!  The SWF's new reptile animal ambassadors, a Great Basin gopher snake and a Sinaloan milk snake made their debut and were introduced to those in attendance.  Utah Foster Care was our educational speaker and creative works were presented by children and youth in a contest entitled "Take Flight".  All attendants were giving the opportunity to vote for their favorite creative work and the winning individual got to choose a nature t-shirt from the SWF's inventory.  The children did an amazing job and we were honored to partner with Utah Foster Care on these special events.  Jerye Lee was our featured musician and we were so pleased to have her and her family attend!  Dutch Oven Delights was set up in our parking area providing delicious food options, the children enjoyed free face painting at our Youth Volunteer Corp face painting booth, and everyone was able to help themselves to free s'mores while they enjoyed the music. 

Just like last year, we will be having a special 5K Fun Run Fundraiser and Educational Event the last Saturday of August.  Friday, August 25th will be our Campfire Concert with an educational speaker beginning around 6:15pm and music starting at 7:00pm.  As always, we will have a campfire with free s'mores and free face-painting by our Youth Volunteer Corp volunteers.  Dutch Oven Delights will be providing their delicious food in our parking area, and the SWF booth volunteers will be available for 5K Fun Run sign-ups and to accept donations.  

On Saturday, August 26th, our 5K Wilderness Fun Run will have check-in at 8:30am with the run beginning around 8:45am.  It is a $10 donation to the SWF per participant to take part in the Fun Run.  All runners will be provided with bottled water and fresh fruit and will have their names put in for our prize drawings.  You do not need to be present to win as long as you include your phone number on your ticket.

Following the 5K Wilderness Fun Run, we will have a Wilderness Safety Festival that will go from 10am until 3pm.  We will have volunteers teaching about reptile safety and we will have reptile animal ambassadors present.  Representatives from the Dixie National Forest Service will teach about fire safety, BLM representatives will teach about plant identification, SUU Garth and Jerri Frehner Museum of Natural History representatives will teach about identifying animal scat and tracks, and Utah Canyon Outdoors representatives will be onsite teaching about slot canyon and hiking.  Free face painting will be available for kids and the SWF booth will be set up with nature photography and t-shirts available for donations.  All donations made to the SWF at this event will add you to our prize drawings which will go on throughout the event.  Prizes from local businesses have been donated, as well as awesome wilderness organizations like Thermarest who has donated a hammock house, Marmot who has donated a 3 person tent, Utah Canyon Outdoors who has donated a private guided hike for 2, Mammut who donated a hiking pack, and so much more!   

Our Campfire Concert, 5K Wilderness Fun Run Fundraiser and our Wilderness Safety Festival will all take place at our campfire area at the CCNP.  To reach the CCNP, take Center Street east up the canyon for about 1.5 miles.  You will pass the City's rust colored bridge, and just before you get to Rusty's Ranch House, you will see our parking area next to a fenced off rehab yard on the right side of the highway.  Take the trail down to our green memorial bridge, cross coal creek and turn left up the pedestrian walking trail and the campfire area is on your right. 

A special thank you to all of the many volunteers and donors who have been supporting us as we continue to expand, work to rescue even more animals, provide more educational programs and events, and develop the CCNP.  You are ensuring the continuation of the SWF for generations to come!  
Copyright © 2017 Southwest Wildlife Foundation Inc., All rights reserved.


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