Fiona, the Red-shouldered Hawk who has been with Pacific Wildlife Care for more than 12 years died earlier this month. Fiona has lived with PWC volunteer Kelly Vandenheuvel since she was a baby. Fiona laid her first eggs in the spring of 2008. She sat on her infertile eggs diligently for almost two months. Kelly decided to try an experiment and placed baby chicks (chickens) under her. Fiona raised the babies as if they were her own. After the first year, Fiona continued to lay her infertile eggs each spring. Every year when orphaned baby hawks came into the center that could not be re-nested they were given to Fiona to raise. Ojai raptor center also sent to many orphaned babies over the years. Kelly would remove the eggs from beneath Fiona early in the morning while it was still dark, place the babies along with baked egg shells underneath Fiona. When morning came Fiona was always as pleased as could be. She raised dozens of orphaned babies during the 12 years she resided in Cayucos.
Fiona who was a gentle soul Was also a very protective mother. She cared for her babies like any good mother would. Often times she would not have any food for herself until all the babies had full crops. Many of Fiona’s babies fly free on Kelly’s Cayuco’s ranch. One of her youngsters from two years ago has a nest just above Fiona’s enclosure. She will be missed by many.
Thank you Kelly for writing this loving memoir.