Findlay Subaru promotion raises significant donation for the ‘Healer of Angels’

ST. GEORGE — For decades whenever an “angel” of the skies in Southern Utah is injured, Martin Tyner rushes to the scene with aid. For him, it’s just a simple day at work.

Martin Tyner with his eagle “Scout” at Findlay Subaru for “Share the Love” check presentation, Feb. 5, 2019, St. George, Utah | Photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

Tyner, founder and CEO of the Southwest Wildlife Foundation, has spent most of his life caring for native wildlife and even in the midst of a presentation at Findlay Subaru Friday afternoon, he took in yet another bird from a stranger.

“If it’s native Utah wildlife, we rescue everything,” Tyner told St. George News. “But my specialty is eagles – that’s what everybody knows me for. I’ve been rescuing them and hunting with them and training them for over 50 years.”

Subaru’s annual “Share the Love” campaign allows customers to apply $250 of their purchase price or more toward a charitable donation to a national or local organization. This year, Findlay’s general manager Dave Gourley presented Tyner with $11,105 to his foundation, which relies entirely on donations from the community and sponsors for support.

“That’s a lot of frozen rats and mice,” Tyner said as he accepted the check with Scout, a golden eagle that is often the highlight of his presentations.

“This is always an honor for me. I greatly appreciate everything that Findlay has done for us, like the 11 years they have chosen us as their ‘Share the Love’ charity.”

He said Findlay has helped the foundation in so many ways, including maintaining his Subaru Forester he drives all around the back country in rough terrain and precarious situations.

Martin Tyner with his peregrine falcon “Helen” at Findlay Subaru for “Share the Love” check presentation, Feb. 5, 2019, St. George, Utah | Photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

His newest member of the family, as Tyner refers to his rescues, is a partially-blind peregrine falcon nobody else wanted. It is one of the best ambassadors to teach others about the need for his type of care that he partially provides from home and the Cedar Canyon Nature Park.

Peregrines are among the fastest creatures in the world, but with limited vision the young falcon would be facing a death sentence in the wild. Now with Tyner, she has a whole new purpose educating kids in Utah about the wonders of Mother Nature.

“Nobody wants a blind peregrine,” Tyner said, but added that it’s actually an asset for education purposes because she doesn’t need to wear a hood to be comfortable around a crowd. He thinks that the young bird of prey sees only blurs in the distance and it gives people the chance to have an experience that would be impossible any other way.

With razor-sharp talons and the ability to dive vertically at over 200 miles per hour, the falcon is one of the world’s greatest predators but in this setting because of her disability, it was her form and elegance on display. Tyner and his wife Susan named “Helen” after the American author Helen Keller, the great ambassador and teacher on how to interact and deal with people who have disabilities.

All falcons have black eyes and a stripe coming down beneath the eye, but Tyner said the peregrine has a very thick stripe, which can help people identify it from others. It’s an endangered species, so witnessing one in nature may be difficult, but they are known to frequent areas with large cliffs like the canyons of Bryce and Zion national parks.

Tyner appears at many public events throughout the region and often pays visits to schools and other groups that want to learn more about the “Healer of Angels” and the unique wildlife of Southern Utah.

“Helen, the falcon is going to be a wonderful ambassador teaching everyone how to love and respect these beautiful animals, so we need your help,” Tyner said.

For more information about the Cedar City-based Southwest Wildlife Foundation see its website.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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