800+ strong and growing! Members, donors, volunteers & staff working together to support the wildlife of San Luis Obispo County through rehabilitation and educational outreach.
Pacific Wildlife Care is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.
What We Do
We treat nearly 3,000 wild animal patients every year, from over 200 different species. Our goal? To return healthy animals to the wild! We also provide educational presentations for local organizations and schools.
[Wildlife rehabilitation] "is a process of coming to know something quite unlike you, to understand it well enough not only to keep it alive but also to put it back, like a puzzle piece, into the gap in the world it left behind."
-- Helen Macdonald, author of H is for Hawk
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, our regular volunteer opportunities orientations (VOO) are temporarily suspended. You will be contacted with updated information when you fill out the VOO registration form.
Freedom Friday! This Anna’s Hummingbird came into our clinic very lethargic after being trapped indoors. She was given a formula designed for hummingbirds and warmed up. She then started to improve dramatically. After a day in our care, she was ready to go back to her wild home. Hummingbirds are fascinating animals with even more fascinating metabolic demands. Their wings can flap around 70 times a second and their heart can beat over 1,000 times a minute. In order to sustain all of this, they need to eat almost every half hour which is why most people always see them feeding. In times when they can’t feed, like at night or during a storm, they will go into a state of torpor which is essentially an energy saving mode where their temperature drops and their metabolism decreases. We wish this female hummingbird a second chance at life and many more nectar filled flowers. 🌸🌷🌺
Thank you to volunteer, JoAnn S., for releasing this bird and to Sarah R. for the video. 🙂
PWC has received several calls recently about a fox at Cloisters Park in Morro Bay. The Cloisters area is normal habitat for foxes. Grey foxes, especially the young ones, are curious and do not tend to have a great fear of people like other wildlife do.
PWC volunteers have checked on the fox and report that, other than the possibility of a mild case of mange, the fox appears healthy and is not currently in need of rescue by PWC.
Please do not engage with the fox in any way and avoid the fox if possible, in order to ensure wildlife stays wild and does not become habituated to humans which often has unintended negative consequences for wild animals.
For more information about wildlife, please contact Pacific Wildlife Care directly at 805-543-WILD (9453). ... See MoreSee Less
Freedom Friday! A special wildlife release and story by one of our volunteers...
Extraordinary Hawk of an Extraordinary Age
On a cold winter morning, four PWC volunteers gathered at the edge of a field for a big event in the life of Red-tailed Hawk 2681: release back to the wild. We set down the carrier, opened the gate, and stood back, silent, excited, and tense. This bird was enormous, the 747 of hawks, and there wasn’t the slightest breeze to help with lift.
On arrival at PWC two months earlier, this bird was far from enormous. The gender couldn’t even be determined. At only 890 grams, was this a male or a very skinny female?
Another mystery: the federal band on the hawk’s leg. Following regulations, veterinarian Shannon Riggs reported the band information to the USGS Bird Banding Lab at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center through their website. The lab responded with information that the bird had hatched in Solano County in 1999. From then on, everyone at PWC referred to #2681 as “our elderly bird.” However, given the extraordinary age of the bird based on the band information, the lab was initially dubious about the correctness of the information provided. Official recognition of the band’s information as legitimate was received recently on March 19.
The bird was emaciated, severely dehydrated, and depressed. Test results revealed parasitism and and liver dysfunction, but little information about the cause of the bird’s poor health. With so little evidence, Dr. Riggs says, it’s “hard to know what’s right for the bird,” but it was important “to give the bird a chance.”
Two weeks later, after fluids, medications, a blood transfusion, and a healthy diet, the hawk was “still very thin” but “snippier,” Dr. Riggs reported. In a raptor, snippy is good.
Three weeks after that, the bird had gained weight and responded well to treatment. Dr. Riggs called in the Creance Team to check flight ability and provide conditioning. (The word creance, from French, refers to the line to which the bird is attached for exercise.) Now at 1,680 grams (clearly a female), Red-tailed Hawk 2681 would have been challenging to handle out on the exercise field if she hadn’t been so cooperative. On all ten flights in this session and two subsequent sessions, she flew beautifully, with strength and perfect form. Our elderly hawk was cleared for release.
On the cold, windless day of her release, she weighed 1,740 grams. The huge bird emerged from the carrier . . . and stumbled. There was a sharp intake of breath from four anxious humans. But then the bird planted herself firmly on the ground and paused before lifting off. She flew low across the open field. Nearing the far side, like a 747 reaching the end of a runway, she pulled up just in time—and rose to the top of the highest tree.
We are thrilled to announce--with our friends at Oak and Otter Brewing Co.--a new brew starting in April: Keeping It Wild IPA! $2/pint will be donated to PWC to support our work to keep SLO County wildlife wild! Pouring now until the beer runs out. 🍻 Cheers! 🍻 ... See MoreSee Less