Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

<<Back to Treasures Index
Phil Shultz

Dr. Phil Shultz


Honored November, 1989

Dr. Phil Shultz

Known as "The Bird Man of Tesuque," Phil Shultz, a surgeon now retired, expanded his practice to include wild birds. Assisted by his wife Joanne, a surgical nurse, he performed many, many "bird operations." At least half the creatures orphaned, poisoned, wounded by gunshot or traps brought to him, recovered sufficiently to be released back into the wild.

Phil's interest in birds, particularly birds of prey, began in his youth. Born in Stanton, Virginia, in 1917, educated at the University of Virginia, he served as a surgeon for the army in the European theater during World War II. In college, a friend brought two young peregrine falcons to school, and Phil worked with him, helping him fly his birds.

After the war, Phil held an appointment at the American University in Beirut, and had the opportunity to observe falconry in the Middle East. Upon returning to the States, he went to practice on the Navajo Reservation at Ft. Defiance, Arizona, and there took care of injured birds with the help of some Hopis who were accustomed to caring for eagles.