Though outstanding hunters, Eagles have a very high failure rate
Eagles are very big with a wide wing span. Bigger is not always better when it comes to hunting. A smaller lighter male eagle can often have the edge over a larger heavier female eagle. For all their skills and amazing physical prowess, it usually takes many, many unsuccessful attempts before they finally capture their prey. Their hunts take longer and exert great energy, but their larger prey provides a meal that lasts them longer as well. They do not need to eat daily.
Combined with shrinking habitats, they often feast on roadkill.
It takes a lot of effort to hunt for food especially in a limited habitat among much competition and obstructions. Roadkill is a lot easier to hunt. Eagles are opportunistic predators, they will take what they can get with the least amount of energy expended.
A large meal increases the weight of Eagle
Just as a pilot must track and balance weight on an airplane, so do birds. Their flight is dependent on a healthy weight and incredible physical fitness. It does not take much weight to throw off their optimal weight and balance for flight.
Extra weight creates added difficulty to resume flight and return to cover
A large meal can weigh down a bird considerably. Not only does the added weight from a big meal make flying harder, it also lessens their incentive for flight. Already satiated, their will and attitude to work for food drops.
The Eagle has launched
Please slow down as a large, heavy Eagle needs time and distance to get off the road
If you see birds, even smaller ones in the road, it is a good idea to slow down. If there are many birds eating roadkill, it may not be possible to see an eagle among them until it is too late.
Unlike smaller birds, Eagles cannot dart away from vehicles.
For those in urban areas, you may be used to just driving along with birds in front of you in the road because most smaller ones are able to get out of the way. Small birds with small wing spans can flap away quickly. A Eagle and some other larger birds cannot. While driving in wildlife areas, please keep an eye out for objects in the road and slow down in order to better evaluate the situation and act accordingly.
Our Thanks to Steven Franzen for sharing this story with us and giving us permission to share with everyone!
The Master and The Apprentice
A middle-aged falconers journey thus far
When I was very young, my family and I would take several trips a year from our home in southern Wisconsin to visit family in the northeast corner of Iowa. The ride was around 3 hours or so. At the age of eight, I began to notice large birds perched on the tops of the telephone poles along the highways we traveled. And after convincing my mother to purchase a “bird book”, I was able to make an effort to begin identifying these creatures, and perhaps, learn a thing or two about them!
I spent countless hours reading my “bird book”. And after only a few days, I had considered myself the world’s foremost expert on everything with wings! And my expert opinion concluded that only two species of birds existed between home and Iowa…. the red-tailed Hawk, and the American Kestrel. It was clear to me that I must conduct field studies to support my opinion! And so I began the arduous task of counting the red-tails and kestrels that I would see from the backseat of a Toyota Camry!
The journey had begun
In late November of 2011, I was fortunate enough to purchase a second home in southern Utah. Although I was residing in Las Vegas at the time, the “Utah house” was a short and picturesque two hour drive! Ok, perhaps the Interstate 15 between Las vegas and St. George is not so “pretty”. However, when you look at it from a falconers perspective, it’s a paradise! And so going to Utah became a recurring adventure most every weekend! In January of the following year, I received a wedding gift from the previous owners of the Utah house. I tore into the package like I was eight years-old again on a Christmas morning ! When it was all said and done, I found myself holding a paperback book. And on the cover of this book, was a man who I had never seen before.
The cover photo was incredible! However, it was not so much the photo itself that caught my attention, but more so what he was doing when this photo was taken. Over the years, my burning desire to be a falconer had to be kept in check as a result of “life circumstances”. I read the book in it’s entirety that night! And after doing so, my lifelong desire to be a falconer began to burn hotter than ever before!! I realized that now was the time to act on that dream. And if I did not, I would certainly succumb to a nuclear meltdown!
On a warm and breezy January afternoon in Las Vegas, Nevada, I found myself placing a phone call to a man named Martin Tyner. Needless to say, I was extremely nervous! What does a want-to-be falconry apprentice say to a master class falconer of over 40 years? Fortunately, I had convinced myself to just keep it simple. About three seconds later, he answered the phone. I introduced myself by name and explained to him that I am seriously interested in becoming an apprentice falconer. Although it is unlikely, I imagined him thinking to himself.. “Oh man, another one??”. In reality, he was extremely kind and accommodating. And after a 20 minute conversation, he extended an invitation to meet him in person the next time I was in Utah.
Less than a week later, I was on my way to Cedar City, Utah. And although the directions provided to me by Martin were simple to follow, I did manage to get lost… twice! Of course, I made no mention of my cartographical handicap to him! When I finally arrived at the Parowan Gap, I noticed a tan Subaru Forester with aftermarket labeling that read “Southwest Wildlife Foundation of Utah”. My heart started to race, I may have even started to perspire more than usual! Nevertheless, I parked, stepped out of my vehicle, circled around to the back, and found myself face to face with the master!
I spent the next eighteen months visiting Martin as often as I could without becoming a nuisance! Additionally, I read and studied anything and everything I could find about falconry and the general biology of the falconry birds themselves. I spent the falconry season of 2012-2013 “shadowing” another master class falconer in Las Vegas. This same master class would eventually become my sponsor during my apprenticeship. As much as I wanted Martin to be my sponsor, I was not a permanent resident of Utah, and therefore could not obtain a Utah falconry permit.
In June of 2013, after completing all the necessary steps, I was issued an apprentice falconry permit through the state of Nevada. After 37 years, this was a long time coming! I called Martin in a fit of excitement! And even though he was proud of me, I was quickly put in my place with these words… “That’s great! Now the hard part begins”
In October of 2013, I successfully trapped my first falconry bird just south of Beryl Junction, Utah. After securing the hawk, I immediately called Martin to inform him of my victory! He instructed me to bring the hawk to his home where he would check the bird over and assist me with installing the anklets and jesses. I arrived at Martin’s home after what seemed like an eternity! I handed Martin my “prize”, and after a thorough inspection, he declared the hawk to be healthy and fit!
A short while later, I set course for home in Las Vegas with my new friend “Andy”, a passage (juvenile) male red-tailed hawk!
Six years ago, my relationship with Martin and Susan Tyner was strictly “falconry professional”, for lack of a better term. However, in that time, I have gotten to know them quite well. And they have gotten to know me as well. In March of 2014, I went through a divorce. And although it was very amicable on paper, it absolutely destroyed me from the inside out. I found my mind entering some very dark places. The depression was consuming me faster than a peregrine in a stoop! And unless I found someone and/or something to hold onto, well…. I don’t think I need to go any further on that subject. I managed to find some rational thought, and determined that, in addition to time, the following key points would help me heal…
Martin and Susan, falconry (and my other feathered friends), and my profession.
The intent of this short story is not meant to be about me. And I am not a “writer” by any means. However, I felt it necessary to share my story of how I met Martin and Susan and the incredibly positive impact they have had on me! At any given time, you the reader, will find yourself on this website reading, donating, or simply appreciating the tireless work that this foundation puts forth!
What you will not read about (perhaps until now), is how the two focal points of this foundation, through falconry and genuine friendship, helped a man on the verge of complete self destruction… recover.
Healer of Angels? There is no doubt!
Healers of people? Perhaps so!
My name is Steven T. Franzen. I am 41 years-old and reside in New River, Arizona. I am a professional air traffic control specialist, a general class falconer, and friend to the Southwest Wildlife Foundation of Utah.
A special 20th Anniversary Celebration took place on Friday, September 29th, and we couldn’t resist also having a beautiful memorial bench placed for Bobbie Long whose love of all living things prompted her daughters to donate towards the creation of our native plant garden, and special ribbon cutting ceremony for our Information Destination the same day! Etch n’ Carved did an amazing job with the bench and the Cedar City Chamber of Commerce were so kind to provide us with the ribbon and scissors for the special ribbon cutting ceremony! Though to some this may be just a restroom, it represents the beginning of huge strides forward in the development of the Cedar Canyon Nature Park, which in turn means the continuation of the Southwest Wildlife Foundation and its mission for generations to come!
Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Parowan Gap Field Excursion Martin provided for the Washington Episcopal School.
A surprise visitor, a great basin rattle snake, posed for pictures for the students and teachers. Excited students were warned to stay back to give this rattler some space as students snapped photos to send their families back east.
Martin taught the value snakes have in the wild by eating small rodents to keep rodent populations under control. All native snakes including rattlers are protected by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. They are an important part of our ecosystem and we should treat them with respect.
Thumper, Cirrus and Scout helped with the program as well. You can see Cirrus looking up at the sky and Martin pointing up to the sky as he holds Scout. The birds kept looking up at a Golden Eagle that was soaring high above us.
Three easy ways you can help us to help the critters!
1) Our first short film, The Bald Eagle That Would Not Quit, is now available at Amazon: click to view. 🎬 Besides buying and gifting a HD or SD version for everyone you know, it would also be very helpful if you could leave a glowing review. Streaming is included in Amazon’s prime membership.
2) While you are there, might as well buy a few more copies of Healer of Angels and add your review: click to view! 📝
3) If you shop at Amazon, you can join the Amazon Smile Program to send a percentage of your purchase to us! It’s easy to sign up, more details here: click for more
In January of 2015, a very, very, sick bald eagle arrived at the rescue center. Initially, wildlife rehabilitator, Martin Tyner, did not think the bird would survive. Over nearly two months, the bald eagle continued to fight and, against all odds, grew stronger and healthier.
This film features footage of examinations and feedings as the bald eagle recovers. During sessions with the bald eagle, Martin shares extensive information about wildlife rehabilitation and notes positive signs of recovery.