1Martin Tyner, with the Southwest Wildlife Foundation in Cedar City, Utah, gave a presentation of three birds of prey during the Grand Opening celebration at Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge.

Tyner said he has been in the business of taking care of rescued and/or injured birds since 1968.

In 1997, he founded the Southwest Wildlife Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit public organization, to provide wildlife rehabilitation and to promote wildlife education.

He said, “Caring for sick, injured, and orphaned native wildlife, (mostly in Utah), restoring them to health and returning them to the wild is our primary goal,” but for those that cannot be released due to disabilities, the 22.6 acre Nature Center will provide them with a permanent home in a natural setting while enhancing the educational experience of those who are visiting the park.

On this showing at the refuge, he brought a 27-year old Harris Hawk, a nine-month old Prairie Falcon, and a nine-year old Golden Eagle. Tyner is the only licensed trainer in the U.S. for Golden Eagle Falconry.

The Prairie Falcon, Tyner said, when it needs to, can dive out of the sky to catch a prey at 200 miles per hour, but says this is not their normal method of catching food, instead usually pursuing and catching prey in level flight

He explained about the birds feeding habits, and his routine in training the birds to be once again, if possible, to be released into the wild.

One interesting note he gave during the question and answer period was how to recognize the male and female of a given species. He said in the case of each of the birds he brought, “the female is larger than the male, and that’s how we determine their gender.”

Efforts to raise funds build a visitors center for the foundation in Cedar City are currently underway where visitors can receive information, and experience exhibits and programs on wildlife, plants, the environment and natural history.

While Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge is not the natural home for the three types of birds Tyner showed, each species have been sighted at various times in the park.