Hawks, Falcons and Owls… oh my!!
“Releasing ‘my hawk’ will be something I will never forget and will experience again someday soon.”- Elyse W.
Great Basin Wildlife Rescue & Stewart Mountain Lodging
We are honored to partner Patti Richards from Great Basin Wildlife Rescue and Stewart Mountain Lodging in Sundance, UT. Patti and her team have been great to work with. We, our guests and friends are now more educated on our local wildlife and her local wildlife rehabilitation center.
We have done several exceptional events with Patti and her team with her educational birds including a Golden Eagle, a variety of owls, hawks and falcons. Whatever the occasion may be, you will love this experience – wedding, birthday, anniversary, holiday, corporate event or family gathering. Be part of reuniting something so beautiful back into nature and in the beautiful surroundings of Sundance.
Great Basin Wildlife Rescue is a non-profit wildlife rehabilitation center, established in 2001. They take in over 300 animals a year: bear cubs, hawks, eagles, falcons, owls, corvids and small mammals. They are completely funded by donations and are grateful for caring volunteers and any monetary help.
Great Basin Wildlife Rescue has affordable, quality educational programs for people of all ages. Education for public, private, home school groups, camps, churches, scouts and now Stewart Mountain Lodging in Sundance, UT! Education designed to encourage interest and concern for Utah’s unique native mammals and migratory birds of prey.
Private Bird Release
To schedule your own bird release call us and we can go over details and get you even more excited. In addition to cordinating everything with Patti and her team, we can arrange everything from catering, lighting, live music or simply a campfire and smores. We would love to help personalize it to fit your exact wants and needs.
Stories and Experiences:
A Swainson’s Hawk birthday
Occasionally in life, we experience events that touch our hearts in deeply spiritual ways that reconnect us back to Mother Earth, Our God and our spiritual roots. When we experience or witness beautiful events of nature, we are reborn with an appreciation of those gifts and our responsibility as stewards of this precious planet and the animals upon it. Witnessing that passion and appreciation thru the eyes of a 15 year old son on his 15th birthday is extra special and spoke to me in a way that words will never describe.
My son Wyatt is a passionate lover of wildlife, as parents we have repeatedly witnessed his deep passion by his rescuing of birds, various wildlife and the endless list of animals that passed thru our home. Wyatt is happiest when he is outdoors hiking, skiing, rowing, running the trails or on the back of a horse; he lives for the beauty of nature. Sundance and our beautiful canyon has been a very influential part of his connection with nature and has been his outdoor playground so when Stewart Mountain Lodging and Great Basin Wildlife Rescue asked me if we could host a bird release (and fundraiser) on my lawn which also happened to be Wyatt’s 15th birthday; I leaped at the idea.
Sunny told Wyatt, “Daddy has a surprise for you.” Sunny picked Wyatt up at school in Virginia and took him directly to the airport and 4 hours later, they landed at SLC to a huge Dad hug. Wyatt assumed the surprise was just a long weekend in Sundance with us but he knew something was up the next day when Vicki and the crew for Stewart Mountain Lodging arrived at the house to set up for a beautiful wine and cheese reception, he assumed it was simply a very nice birthday party but later when the Great Basin trucks showed up, he knew something was up; I had to let him in on the plan……..when we peeked in the cages to see the beautiful raptors…. he stopped breathing for a moment, there is nothing like the feeling of looking eye to eye with a raptor; he was so excited and so happy, he beamed, he radiated pure joy. At that instant, I felt like the best Dad ever and Wyatt was the happiest son ever. That moment was one I will cherish till I die.
We hosted a beautiful event at our house and raised money for Great Basin but the moment that we all waited for simply made me weep, we all wept with joy and appreciation as we stood on our lawn overlooking the canyon.
The first Swainson’s hawk was safely removed from his cage, the intense penetrating eyes told all of us of his rage of the containment, his desire to get away was quite clear. After settling in the handlers arms, we all looked at him with awe at the sheer beauty and stunning power that was being held fast. Once released his powerful wing strokes were evidence of his health and strength, he perched in a nearby aspen, getting his bearings, looking across the beautiful Sundance Canyon and his new home. He gazed down at Stewart Creek and over to the hillside across the canyon, he ruffled his feathers a few times and then appeared to settle into his branch as if to say, “This place looks pretty good to me, I’m staying”. I actually thought the same as the minutes passed that perhaps we might have a hawk take residence nearby, what a blessing of Nature.
We readied the second hawk for release and he was a bit larger and a bit more restless, after a bit more settling in the handler’s arms, he was released and as soon as he took wing, the first hawk looked at him and leapt from his perch and the two fellow hunters flew side by side across the canyon, two healthy friends together on wing.
There was absolute silence on my lawn at that moment while tears streamed down cheeks witnessing the beauty of the gift of healthy, powerful raptors released once again into their natural element, their environment. We watched as they soared down the canyon and eventually landed on a large pine down the canyon together. It was a moment and a day I will never forget and a birthday for a 15 year old birthday that will always be very special. Thank you to Great Basin Wildlife Rescue and Stewart Mountain Lodging for making an unforgettable memory for a fifteen year old son and his family.
Paul S. & Family ~ Sept. 2013