CEDAR CITY, Utah – Having an owl for a pet may be a common dream following the Harry Potter series of books, but for one southern Utah wildlife rescue organization, that exactly what’s happened.
Martin Tyner rescues hundreds of wild animals every year throughout the region. His organization, the Southwest Wildlife Foundation, rehabilitates them and releases them back into the wild. Tyner said the kinds that show up vary.
“Some years we get more eagles, some years we get more falcons, it just seems to cycle through,” Tyner said. “This particular year we’ve had quite a few owls, red-tailed hawks and Cooper’s hawks.”
One particular great horned owl was found abandoned by its parents, a common occurrence if the bird isn’t naturally strong enough to fend for itself. Tyner nursed it back to health along with a few other owls. While those others got releases, one needs to stay.
“Every once and a while, we end up with one that doesn’t want to hunt, doesn’t want to kill things,” Tyner said. “It’s just too quiet and too calm and just doesn’t have the personality necessary.”
Since it won’t survive in the wild, Tyner has obtained a permit to keep the young female owl as an educational bird, but he’s asking for the public to help name her. The owl will be used as a sort of wildlife ambassador.
“She will be educating the public about owls and about and the environment and the wildlife that we have here in Utah,” Tyner said.
Those who have a fitting name for the owl turned ambassador can send suggestions to the Southwest Wildlife Foundation via their website.
The foundation is currently rehabilitating several different birds, including two red-tailed Hawks and one Cooper’s hawk. One of those red-tailed hawks is scheduled to be released this Friday.