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Healer of Angels

Healer of Angels

"One of my greatest childhood fantasies was the desire to create a personal friendship with a wild eagle. I found myself with a love and fascination for these powerful creatures."

Join Martin Tyner as he reflects back on his life: from a young boy terrified of birds to becoming the first man in North America licensed to train a wild golden eagle in the ancient art of falconry.

Healer of Angels is a heartwarming collection of true stories about overcoming life's challenges and disabilities with the guidance of wise grandparents and other mentors.

Read about his transformation from a shy dyslexic teenager, to the founder and CEO of the Southwest Wildlife Foundation. Some of the stories are humorous and some bittersweet, but each will inspire, teaching a lesson as it touches the reader's heart.

  • Books are signed by the authors
  • Includes over ten pages of color wildlife photography
  • A quality paperbook well suited for gifts and the coffee table
Buy $25.00
(U.S. only)

also available at Amazon

Sample Chapters

Feathered Doberman Pincher

One of the biggest misconceptions that people have about wildlife is that if you raise it from a chick, a bird of prey will become sweet, docile and loving. This is about as far from the truth as you can get. Raptors in the nest are heavily motivated by food, and there was never a truer statement than, "Only the strong survive."

Among many species of birds of prey, competition for food is intense. The most aggressive, violent, loudest, and most obnoxious will generally eat first. When mom and dad return to the nest with food, the battle begins.

As the young chicks grow, the competition becomes fierce. It gets to the point where siblings are knocked from the nest, injured, and sometimes killed while attempting to get their share of the available food. In some nests the violence gets so severe that mom and dad will no longer land at the nest site, but fly by and chuck food into the nest and let the young birds fight it out. The young grow very quickly. Most will become fully grown, as large as their parents, between eight and ten weeks of age. There is a great need for large amounts of food to support their rapid growth during this time.

The young fledge (start to fly) between eight and ten weeks of age. As the young become skilled at soaring, they will follow their mom and dad on hunting trips. As the adults swoop down and catch small rodents, birds or whatever is appropriate for their species, it is common for the young hawks to fly down and violently attack their parents, stealing the food to satisfy their ravenous appetites. After a relatively short few weeks of being beaten and brutalized by their young, mom and dad abandon the juvenile birds and begin their migration.

Now picture yourself as a mama hawk with a young bird that you have raised that not only has no fear of you, but no respect for you either. This leads us to the story of Sierra.

Sierra was a young female Harris hawk stolen from her nest by some teenage boys. Not only was she raised by the teenagers, but she was horribly abused. The abuse was so severe that she ended up with a broken leg. Now we have a large hawk, raised by man, with no fear of man, and abused by man; so she hated humans.

She was taken to a veterinarian, and the vet immediately called the local fish and game. The hawk was confiscated and brought to me. Mending the broken leg was far easier than mending the emotional scars that she carried for the rest of her life.

This hawk was so emotionally disturbed that she had no idea what she could and could not hunt. Her favorite thing to hunt was cows; yes, cows!

After her leg had healed I would take her out on the desert to give her exercise. If there was a cow within a mile she would leave my glove, fly across the desert and attack the cow violently. She would attack horses, joggers and farmers on tractors. She was a dangerous and violent creature to work with. Fortunately for me, she never turned that aggressive attitude toward me.

One day Sierra and I were returning from a hunting trip, and I stopped by a local gas-and-goodie store to grab a soda pop. Back then I had a very bad habit of leaving my keys on the floor of the car. As I walked out of the store, I heard a man screaming at the top of his lungs. I looked across the parking lot and saw a man bailing out of my car. I ran to the car and discovered Sierra standing on the ground next to it. I picked her up, opened the door and placed her back on her perch where she normally sat free and unhooded.

I noticed then that the keys had been taken from the floor of the car and placed in the ignition. Obviously the man had tried to steal my car. I don't know if he saw the hawk, did not see the hawk, or saw the hawk and thought it was stuffed. I had no idea what was going through his mind, but if you could only imagine jumping into a strange car, picking up the keys from the floor and placing them into the ignition only to have eight, razor sharp talons puncturing the back of your neck, wings beating against your head and the most awful growl that you have ever heard!

There were quarter-size drops of blood going down the street. I had no doubt he needed stitches, I am going to assume that was the last car he ever tried to steal. My Harris hawk was a beautiful black hawk with red shoulders, red thighs and a large white band in her tail. This was how she got her nickname, "My Feathered Doberman Pinscher."

Grandpa's Pocket Watch

The greatest man I've ever known was my grandpa. To the world he was a short, slender, bald-headed, quiet gentleman that drove a laundry truck. He always wore brown slacks, a plaid shirt and a light brown cap. Every evening around five o'clock Grandpa would arrive home, much to the delight of my brother, sister and I.

We would kneel on the old green couch in front of the living room window, watching for Grandpa to pull into the driveway in his large, white step van with the name BEACON written across the side.

As he pulled into the driveway, we would run out the front door of the house and he would slide open the door of the truck. After piling into the van and giving Grandpa big hugs, we'd hold on tight as Grandpa drove the van forward about fifty feet to its parking space in front of the garage. Then we would all jump from the van, climb the steps of the back porch, and run into the house where Grandma was putting the final touches on dinner.

After Grandpa came home it was time to get cleaned up for dinner. We washed all the dirt and mud off our hands and faces, and took our places around the kitchen table. Meals were simple: casseroles, spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, with fresh vegetables from the garden and homemade bread. When dinner was over, and if I'd completed all of my studies and homework, Grandpa and I would go out to the garage and work on a project. Whether it was fixing Grandma's old toaster or working on our soapbox derby car made out of wooden crates, two by fours and wagon wheels, there were always projects that Grandpa and I were working on.

Grandma may have been a school teacher, but the lessons I learned from Grandpa were just as important. Grandpa taught me how to shoot marbles, spin a wooden top, how to win at pick-up sticks, how to bait a hook, catch a fish, and most of all, how to be a good father.

During our activities together, Grandpa used to impart small bits of wisdom. Grandpa used to say, "There is no shame in being a gopher, as long as you are a darn good gopher." (A gopher is someone who is a laborer that is told to go for this and go for that.)

Every morning when my grandpa would leave for work he would say, "Martin, do good today." Grandpa believed in a very simple philosophy; that a person should get up every morning and do good. Grandpa taught me the difference between doing good and doing well.

Doing good means that you do well for others and doing well means that you do good for yourself. There is nothing wrong with doing well, but Grandpa always believed in doing good.

One Saturday afternoon when I was nine years old, Grandpa called me into the living room where he reached out his arms and invited me to join him in his big, brown recliner chair. Grandpa's chair was really cool. Not only was it big and comfortable, but you could push back and the chair would recline and the footrest would come up. It was a great place to take a nap. The chair had a small electrical switch on the right side and when you flipped the switch the whole chair would vibrate.

This time when Grandpa invited me to jump up into his lap he seemed almost sad and very serious. Grandpa said he needed to talk to me, and with a concerned look on his face he reached into the left pocket of his brown trousers and pulled out a gold pocket watch.

He said, "This watch has been in the family for over a hundred years and the watch has always been passed down from father to son. Before the son can receive the watch he must make a promise and keep the promise. The promise is that the son will not drink, smoke, do drugs, or get thrown in jail until after they've reached the age of twenty-one."

Grandpa continued, "My three sons, your uncles, were unable to keep the promise. They all drank or smoked before the age of twenty-one, so I still have the watch. Martin, would you make this promise to not drink, smoke, do drugs, or get thrown in jail until after you are twenty-one, so that I may pass on the watch to you?"

I've never seen Grandpa like this. A single tear formed at the edge of his right eye as I made the promise, "Grandpa, I promise I will not drink, smoke, do drugs, or get thrown in jail until after I am twenty-one."

Grandpa hugged me tight, and I could feel the burden and the sadness lift from Grandpa's heart. Grandpa said, "We need some of Grandma's chocolate chip cookies and milk." So as I jumped down off of Grandpa's lap, we headed for the kitchen and the cookie jar.

At that time, I did not understand the impact that promise would have on my life. Going through high school in the late sixties and early seventies, drugs and alcohol were present at every party and at every teenage event. Whenever a friend would offer me a drink, a smoke or a pill and try to convince me that getting high was really cool, I would remember my promise and Grandpa's face and that single tear.

Grandpa passed away when I was nineteen and no one in the family remembered the promise, so I never got the watch. People often say, "How sad, you never got the watch." The pocket watch was never the point. The true gift from my grandfather was the promise.


"Healer of Angels, a book that speaks to you like a storyteller, a rare delight for people of all ages. Stories of animal rescue are told with humor, insight and compassion. Children will relate to the stories, find them fascinating, and see themselves in the tales of experiencing fear and insecurities and coping with them through courage, persistence and understanding."
Joanne D. Browne, Ph.D., Teacher, Psychologist
"It's such a fun little book with gorgeous pictures. I lent the book to my brother, who is the biggest cynic on the planet, and he loved it. Thank you so much."
Robin Cole, College Student
"As I read, I thought of how good of an example Martin would be to readers struggling in a world of harmful influences. If I had read more books like this as a child, I may have been more motivated to trust in myself, hold some better values, and follow a straighter path towards the fulfillment of my potential. Your book will definitely inspire many people. I hope that young adults especially, have the opportunity to read this book and by doing so are encouraged to believe in their dreams."
Tim Needham, High School English Teacher
"The world needs more of this! Susan and Martin Tyner spoke at our community center with Scout the eagle, Thumper the Harris hawk and a baby prairie falcon. Their love for the birds is infectious and their stories of overcoming adversity open up your heart to a world full of hope. This is easy to read, 8 year-olds to 80 year-olds will like it. The color pictures of all the wildlife they have worked with are beautiful, not only the birds, but many others such as coyotes, prairie dogs and rabbits."
Rob Snyder, Manager, Springdale Library, Utah
"Healer of Angels was a real page turner; I finished it about 1:30 this morning and just couldn't quit. It was fun to read and well written. Great Stuff!"
Steve Miner, Utah State Family Services, Councilor